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'Iraqi agent' sentenced to 13 years in prison

[JURIST] A federal judge in Indianapolis sentenced an Indiana truck driver to 160 months in prison Friday for acting as an unregistered foreign agent and violating sanctions against Iraq. Shaaban Hafiz Ahmad Ali Shaaban, a Soviet-educated Palestinian Ph.D. who speaks three languages and became a naturalized US citizen but couldn't find work in his field of petroleum-mining, was convicted [JURIST report; DOJ press release, PDF] in January on charges [JURIST report; DOJ press release] laid in March 2005. Government prosecutors said he had traveled to Iraq in 2002 and agreed to sell names of US intelligence agents to the Iraqi government for $3 million. It was never established that he actually had names to sell. They also alleged he attempted to rebroadcast pro-Iraqi propaganda in the US, and offered to pay Iraqis to act as human shields against coalition forces. Shaaban claimed that the had been mistaken for a dead brother who worked for the CIA.

During his trial Shaaban defended himself pro se with the help of two standby public defenders, and at sentencing insisted he was not a bad man and wanted to help his country. Under his sentence Shaaban will also lose his naturalization status and is subject to eventual deportation, probably to Jordan where the US says he is from, although Shaaban claims he is actually Lebanese and holds Russian citizenship. AP has more. The Indianapolis Star has local coverage.

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