Languages
Page last updated at 18:19 GMT, Sunday, 18 May 2008 19:19 UK

Death penalty over Iraq killing

Iraqi Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho
Archbishop Rahho's body was found buried near Mosul

A leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq has been sentenced to death for the killing of the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho.

The archbishop of the northern city of Mosul was kidnapped in February by gunmen who attacked his car, killing his driver and two bodyguards.

His body was found in a shallow grave two weeks later.

The Iraqi government said the criminal court had imposed the death sentence on Ahmed Ali Ahmed, known as Abu Omar.

The US embassy in Baghdad welcomed the verdict.

IRAQ'S CHALDEAN CHRISTIANS
550,000 Chaldeans, forming majority of Iraq's Christians
Eastern-rite Church with liturgical language, Syriac, descended from Aramaic
Autonomous from Rome but recognises Pope's authority
Spiritual leader Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly, based in Baghdad

"Reiterating our condolences to the archbishop's family and community, we commend the Iraqi authorities for bringing the perpetrator of this brutal crime to justice," a statement said.

In the past, the government of Nouri Maliki has been accused by Iraq's Christian minority of not doing enough to protect them from persecution, the BBC's Caroline Wyatt reports from Baghdad.

Churches, priests and businesses owned by Christians have been attacked repeatedly. Kidnappings by Sunni and Shia groups, as well as criminal gangs, have been common since the US-led invasion in 2003. Many Christians have fled abroad.

The archbishop, 65, was the latest in a long line of Chaldean clerics to be abducted in Iraq.

The Chaldeans are the largest sect within Iraq's Christian community, which was estimated at 800,000 before the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific