An Iranian man and four members of an Iraqi militia have been jailed for life in Baghdad for the murder of an American Christian teacher and missionary.
A court heard they had intended to kidnap Stephen Troell and demand a ransom, but shot him while he was driving his car after ambushing him and cutting off his vehicle in a Baghdad street last November. His wife and one of his three daughters were also in the car, but were not physically harmed.
Two Iraqi intelligence officials told The Associated Press the Iranian man was the alleged mastermind of the kidnap plot and that several others wanted over the crime cannot be located. They said four men were in each of the two cars that ambushed Mr. Troell while others stood lookout.
Mr Troell had been living with his family in the Iraqi capital and working at an English language school run by a private US aid agency known to conduct missionary work. International Christian Concern says the 45-year-old frequently documented his love for his family, his faith and the Iraqi people.
It’s still unclear whether he was targeted falsely as a US spy, or for sharing the Gospel with local Muslims, or simply because he was American. Foreigners are rarely targeted in Iraq where security has improved in recent years.
The US Department of State welcomed the convictions saying: “It is critical that all those responsible for the brutal, premeditated assassination of Mr. Troell face justice and accountability.”
Photo: Twitter (X) – Stephen Troell