Jailed Iraqis to appeal

Two Iraqis convicted in Sweden earlier this month of plotting and financing a massive suicide bombing campaign in their home country will appeal against the ruling, their lawyers said on Monday.

Ali Berzengi, 29, and Ferman Abdulla, 25, were found guilty of “receiving and transferring large sums to the terrorist organization Ansar al-Islam with the aim that the money be used for terror crimes,” the Stockholm court ruled on May 12.

“My client will appeal. He claims that he is innocent,” Abdulla’s lawyer Ola Salomonsson told AFP, adding that Berzengi would also file an appeal.

The two men, who are the first to be charged under new anti-terror legislation introduced in Sweden in July 2003, were sentenced to seven and six years behind bars, respectively.

The court ordered them to be deported from Sweden once they have served their sentences and barred them from ever returning.

The crimes included “among other things taking life and thereby creating fear among the inhabitants of Iraq, as well as seriously destabilizing the basic political and social structures there,” the court said.

The court also found the men guilty of transferring 70,000 kronor that helped fund a suicide bombing in the northern Iraqi city of Arbil on February 1, 2004, that left more than 100 people dead.

The pair’s defence lawyers had argued that the money was sent to “people who needed help, for social causes,” and not to pay for bombings.

“My client insists that he is not a member of Ansar al-Islam. He says he sent money but not for the purposes” for which he was convicted, Salomonsson said.