Death sentence handed to killer of prominent Iraqi academic Hisham al-Hashemi

An Iraqi court on Sunday sentenced to death a former policeman convicted of killing prominent academic Hisham al-Hashemi, whose murder in 2020 sparked condemnation in Iraq and abroad.

The sentence against Ahmed Hamdawi Oueid for killing Hashemi, an expert on Sunni extremism and a government security adviser, was handed down by a Baghdad criminal court and can be appealed, the judiciary said.

A well-respected academic and expert on extremist groups, Hashemi was shot dead outside his Baghdad home in July 2020 by gunmen on motorcycles.

A year later, state television aired the alleged confession of the mastermind of the assault who was then identified by his full name Ahmed Hamdawi Oueid al-Kenani.

Then a police lieutenant aged 36, he said he shot Hashemi with a pistol.

At the time a security source told AFP that the suspect was linked to the powerful pro-Iran Kataeb Hezbollah, which Hashemi had criticized in his writings and media commentary.

On Sunday, Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council said in a statement that “a death sentence has been issued against the criminal Ahmed Hamdawi Oueid for the murder of security expert Hisham al-Hashemi.”

Hashemi’s murder sparked outrage across Iraq and was denounced by several Western countries as well as the United Nations.

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