Afghan court sentences AP journalist's killer to 20 years

Afghan court sentences AP journalist's killer to 20 years

Afghanistan's highest court has ruled that the police officer convicted of murdering Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus and wounding AP correspondent Kathy Gannon almost one year ago should serve 20 years in prison, according to documents sent to the country's attorney general on Saturday, The Associated Press reported.

The final sentence for former Afghan police unit commander Naqibullah was reduced from the death penalty recommended by a primary court last year. Twenty years in prison is the maximum jail sentence in Afghanistan, said Zahid Safi, a lawyer for The Associated Press who had been briefed on the decision by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruling upholds an intermediate court's decision, which was opposed by the Military Attorney General's office.

Naqibullah, who uses only one name, opened fire on Niedringhaus and Gannon without warning on April 4 as the two were covering the first round of the country's presidential election outside the city of Khost in southeastern Afghanistan.

An award-winning German photographer, Niedringhaus was renowned for her humane depictions of ordinary life as well as for her coverage of conflict zones from the Balkans to Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan. She died instantly of her wounds at the age of 48. Gannon, a senior correspondent for Afghanistan and Pakistan with decades of experience in the region, was hit with six bullets that ripped through her left arm, right hand and left shoulder, shattering her shoulder blade. She is recovering from her injuries while undergoing physical therapy in her native Canada.

Both Niedringhaus and Gannon have been honored by numerous institutions and organizations. The International Women's Media Foundation and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation recently created the Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award in Niedringhaus's memory. Gannon in December received the Tara Singh Hayer Memorial Award from Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and last month was named winner of the McGill Medal for Journalistic Courage at the University of Georgia.

"It is almost exactly a year since Anja was murdered and Kathy wounded while reporting in the country they both loved," said Kathleen Carroll, AP's executive editor. "We are glad the judicial system in Afghanistan has completed the case against their attacker and trust the sentence will be carried out in full. And as the sad anniversary approaches, our thoughts and care are with Anja's family and with Kathy."

"Neither Anja nor I believe in the death penalty," said Gannon on Saturday after learning of the ruling. "I know I speak for Anja, as well as for myself, when I say one crazy gunman neither defines a nation nor a people, and covering Afghanistan and Afghans was a joy for both of us and is what I will return to once the surgeries and healing is completed. I will return for both of us."

According to witnesses and court testimony, Gannon and Niedringhaus were seated in the back seat of a car parked in a crowd of police and election officials at a police station when Naqibullah walked up to the vehicle, shouted "Allahu Akbar," and fired on them with a Kalashnikov assault rifle. He surrendered immediately. Witness and official accounts suggested the shooting was not planned.

Naqibullah, believed to be 26, was convicted of murder and treason. During his trial, Naqibullah did not offer a reason for why he opened fire but said at one point he was "not a normal person." He denied judges' claims that he once traveled to Pakistan to be trained by extremists, saying he only received medical care while there.

Judges in the original trial also sentenced Naqibullah to four years in prison for wounding Gannon in the attack. It was not clear whether that sentence would be served concurrently with the 20-year term.

Court documents showed that Naqibullah was sentenced to death by Afghanistan's Primary Court on July 22. He appealed the sentence to the Appeals Court, which decided on Jan. 6 to commute the punishment to 20 years in prison. Naqibullah then appealed that reduced sentence to the country's Supreme Court, while the military attorney general's office also appealed and asked for the death penalty. The Supreme Court sentence of 20 years in prison is final, although under Afghan law the time in prison can be reduced if a prisoner shows evidence of "social rehabilitation."

The German foreign ministry said its embassy in Afghanistan has been following the court proceedings. It said Germany respects the independence of the Afghan judiciary but also regularly expresses its rejection of the death penalty as a matter of government policy. Niedringhaus's family in Germany also said it opposed the death penalty, but urged that Naqibullah not be "spared from life in prison," according to a letter provided by Niedringhaus's sister, Elke Niedringhaus-Haasper.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Indo-Pacific regional dialogue starts today with focus on maritime strategy
Indo-Pacific regional dialogue starts today with focus on maritime strategy
Roll-out of Russian Rostselmash combine assembly plant in Azerbaijan postponed due to COVID-19
Roll-out of Russian Rostselmash combine assembly plant in Azerbaijan postponed due to COVID-19
Turkey shares cargo traffic data for its Gemlik port in 9M2021
Turkey shares cargo traffic data for its Gemlik port in 9M2021
Loading Bars
Latest
Iranian currency rates for October 27
Azerbaijan talks funds planned for reconstruction of liberated territories in 2022
Azerbaijan unveils planned expenditures on defense and security in 2022
Indo-Pacific regional dialogue starts today with focus on maritime strategy
Roll-out of Russian Rostselmash combine assembly plant in Azerbaijan postponed due to COVID-19
Restoration work in Azerbaijan's liberated lands will only accelerate - economy minister
Azerbaijan state budget revenues forecast for 2022 unveiled
Turkey shares cargo traffic data for its Gemlik port in 9M2021
Turkmenistan launches production of import-substituting pasteurized products
Turkey discloses volume of cargo shipment via its Botas port for 9M2021
Russia cuts import of Turkish-made cement
Azerbaijan establishes commission for preparation of civil defense plan
Roscosmos plans to orbit its robotic spacewalker in 2024
Azerbaijani, Turkish MoDs meet in liberated Zangilan
Oil falls after increases in U.S. crude, fuel stockpiles
Turkey discloses data on cargo handling from Germany via local port for 9M2021
Cause of problem at Iran’s petrol stations is cyberattack - SNSC
Azerbaijan, AIIB talk co-op in ‘smart’ and ‘green’ concepts
Fuzuli airport can attract investments needed to restore prosperity in Karabakh - Bryza
UK's Sunak tries to move on from COVID with new spending plans
U.S. considering adding Israel, Romania, Bulgaria to visa waiver program
Bahrain approves Sinopharm vaccine for children aged 3 to 11
Hamburg welcomes 1st China-Europe freight train from Shanghai amid logistics tension
Iran, Pakistan call for closer ties, vow to help Afghanistan
EU energy ministers discuss power price surge
U.S. FDA advisers back Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children
Pension Fund announces average pension rate in Uzbekistan
I am absolutely sure that Turkey and Azerbaijan, as two fraternal countries, will continue to move forward together - President Aliyev
German President presents Angela Merkel with resignation papers
Kazakh ambassador hails Iran’s role in SCO
Chronicles of Victory: October 27, 2020
Fuzuli International Airport to unbreakably connect Karabakh with Azerbaijan - Turkish official
Georgian PM, Estonian Defense Minister discuss military cooperation
We will continue to support fraternal Azerbaijan with all our capabilities - Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan completes official visit to Azerbaijan
Not every politician can achieve rapid development in short time in territories liberated from occupation - Erdogan
In two weeks we will celebrate liberation of Shushi as great Victory Day - President Aliyev
Biden heads to G20 to talk energy prices, supply chain woes
President Aliyev names visit of President Erdogan to Azerbaijan example of true brotherhood
Day will come when it will be possible to get from Zangezur to Istanbul - Erdogan
You are going to Armenian border, aren't you? You will go further - Turkish president
If Armenia shows sincere will in its relations with Azerbaijan, there will be no obstacles to normalization of relations with Turkey - President Erdogan
Turkey and Azerbaijan, as two brotherly countries, always next to each other – President Aliyev
Joint steps of Azerbaijan and Turkey will forever remain in history - President Aliyev
Shusha Declaration officially raised Azerbaijani-Turkish relations to level of alliance - President Aliyev
Presidents of Azerbaijan and Turkey make press statements (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Georgian GDP continues its robust recovery – Renaissance Capital
President Erdogan presents President Aliyev with 'Kharybulbul' image watch (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Presidents of Azerbaijan and Turkey hold one-on-one meeting in Zangilan (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Russia to supply Turkmenistan’s Turkmengaz with pipes
Iran facing problems at filling stations
Azerbaijan increases propylene production in 9M2021
Azerbaijani, Turkish presidents view works done under “smart village” project in Zangilan (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Uzbekistan reveals data of foreign investment in mining industry
Uzbekistan, Singapore to co-op for humanitarian programs and projects
GM to boost EV profile with 40,000 charging stations in U.S., Canada
First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva posts photos from Aghali village, Zangilan district on her Instagram page (PHOTO)
Russia, UAE ink inter-governmental space exploration deal
Georgia plans to renovate its Airports Association
U.S. home price growth slowed in August- S&P Case-Shiller
Kazakhstan counts on international experience on operating nuclear power plants
Bahar Azadi gold coin price dips in Iran
Engineering work in Azerbaijan's liberated lands continues - MoD (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Uzbekistan's GDP grows in 9M2021
Kazakhstan sees decrease in production of iron ores
Kazakhstan’s Energy Ministry comments on Marine Access Channels project
Iran keen to increase Methanethiol production
Webinar on Engineering products organised by the Embassy of India (PHOTO)
Iran plans to develop Chaharmahal Bakhtiari Province
Azerbaijan becomes largest diesel supplier to Georgia
Bahrain approves Sinopharm vaccine for children aged 3-11
Official welcome ceremony held for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Aghali village, Zangilan district (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Israeli co Emtan to provide Spanish police with 9,120 pistols
Iran boosts its TEU container transit via Shahid Rajaee port
Iran issues loans to several enterprises
Azerbaijan talks provision of Internet to inaccessible areas
Turkmen Khazar Consortium opens tender for chemicals
Opening of Fuzuli Int’l Airport to speed up investment, social dev’t of Azerbaijan’s Karabakh - Israeli expert
President Ilham Aliyev and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lay foundation for “Dost Agropark” in Zangilan (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Kazakhstan increases cargo transportations volumes via maritime
Turkmen company to purchase chemical products via tender
Azerbaijani products on display at int'l exhibition in China (PHOTO)
Turkey unveils number of ships docking at Iskenderun port
India, UK take part in joint exercise Konkan Shakti 2021
Fitch Ratings unveils long-term IDR of Astana Gas KMG
TDB and ICD sign MoU to support private sector investment in common African member states
Georgia shares its TOP-5 fuel exporters
Kazakhstan provides transit corridor for Afghan women
Iran’s West Oil & Gas Production Company prevents declining gas production
Iran’s Tejarat Bank provides loans related to coronavirus
Azerbaijan's mortgage fund issues record number of loans for 10M2021
Kazakhstan, Hungary sign memorandums in number of spheres
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for October 26
Turkey sees growth in number of registered Iranian companies for 9M2021
Leadership of Turkish Defense University visit Azerbaijani War College of Armed Forces (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan, WB discuss possible co-op in restoration of liberated lands (PHOTO)
Iran not to raise price of energy carriers - PBO
Ports giant DP World expects container volume growth to moderate in Q4
Azerbaijani, Turkish presidents laid foundation stone for Zangazur corridor (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Russian company plans to participate in restoration of Azerbaijan's liberated lands
All news