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Akbar receives death sentance


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A US soldier said to have hated America has been sentenced to death for the murder and attempted murder of comrades during the invasion of Iraq.

Sgt Hasan Akbar used grenades and a rifle to kill two officers and wound 14 other personnel at a camp in Kuwait in the opening days of the war.


Prosecutors said the murders were ideologically driven hate crimes.


Defence lawyers do not dispute the attack but argue Akbar was too mentally ill to have planned the attack.


The death penalty was announced a week after he was convicted by a military jury at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.




It was the first time since the Vietnam War that an American had been prosecuted for murdering a fellow soldier in wartime.


'Maximum carnage'


Last week, a 15-member jury took just two and a half hours to convict Akbar, but sentencing on Thursday came after a further seven hours of deliberations.


Capt Christopher Seifert, 27, and Maj Gregory Stone, 40, were killed.


Prosecutors say Akbar told investigators he had launched the attack because he was concerned that US troops would kill fellow Muslims in Iraq.


He attacked "with a cool mind" to achieve "maximum carnage", they said, pointing to a 1997 diary entry in which Akbar wrote: "My life will not be complete unless America is destroyed."


"He is a hate-filled, ideologically driven murderer," said the chief prosecutor, Lt Col Michael Mulligan.




Akbar, 34, delivered an apology before members of the jury began considering the sentence.

The widow of Capt Seifert described his killer as a 'nonentity'


"I felt that my life was in jeopardy and I had no other options," he was quoted as saying in a low voice, by The Associated Press.


A defence psychiatrist had testified that although Akbar was legally sane and understood the consequences of his attack, he suffered from forms of paranoia and schizophrenia.


John Akbar, the soldier's father, also argued that his son, a black man, had been subjected to racial harassment.


The sentence is subject to an automatic appeal. If Akbar is eventually executed, it will be by lethal injection.


Tammie Eslinger, the woman Maj Stone had planned to marry, said the killer had robbed her of her "love, family, dreams and future".




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