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World Briefing / Iraq

4 in security forces to hang for deadly heist

September 03, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Four members of Iraq's security forces were convicted of robbing a Baghdad bank and killing eight guards and were sentenced to hang.

Critics of the swift judgment in the case say the government is seeking to wrap up the trial quickly to avert political damage from links between at least one of the suspects and one of Iraq's two vice presidents.

Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi has denied any involvement in the July 28 robbery at the state-run Rafidain Bank but said one of those charged worked in his security detail. He has said any suggestions of wrongdoing on his part are politically motivated.

Most of the stolen money, which totaled $4.8 million, was recovered in the office of a newspaper owned by Abdul Mahdi, investigators said.

A three-judge panel gave the four men convicted one month to appeal. A fifth defendant was acquitted.

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