Iraqi Court Upholds Sentences Against Two Americans
NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) _ An Iraqi court has upheld the eight-year prison sentences of two Americans convicted of illegally entering Iraq, an Iraqi newspaper said Wednesday.
Al-Jumhuriyya, a government newspaper, said another appeal had been filed, but the court suggested the sentences would not be overturned. It did not say when the appeals court ruled or when the second appeal would be heard.
William Barloon, 39, and David Daliberti, 41, were arrested March 13 and sentenced 12 days later. Employees of U.S. military contractors in Kuwait, they insist they strayed into Iraqi territory by mistake while trying to visit friends working for the United Nations along the border.
Barloon’s wife, Linda, said she expected the second appeal to be heard in court within a week or two. Despite negative signs from Iraq, she said she was hopeful it might succeed in winning the men’s freedom.
In an interview from her home in Kuwait, Mrs. Barloon said an Iraqi lawyer representing her husband had asked the United Nations to provide a detailed account of the March 13 incident.
The report was never produced, she said, although it would be ``certainly beneficial to this case.″
Daliberti’s wife, Kathy, said in a telephone interview from her home in Jacksonville, Fla., that a presidential pardon was her only hope.
``Well, it doesn’t surprise me. We expected that it would turn out this way,″ she said of the appeal.
``I think that now it has to go to President Saddam Hussein for clemency,″ Mrs. Daliberti said.
Both women were allowed to visit the prisoners in their Baghdad jail several weeks ago but were unable to win their release.
``We were treated very well by the Iraqi people. We weren’t able to get any meetings with any government officials. We were disappointed in that,″ Mrs. Daliberti said.
She said she was holding up well. ``I’m very strong emotionally. I have to be for David. He’s depending on me, you know, to secure his release so I have to remain strong.″
``But I have my moments,″ she added.
Iraq, angry at U.S. efforts to maintain U.N. trade sanctions against Baghdad, has claimed the men were involved in espionage.
The United States says they are innocent and should be freed on humanitarian grounds.
In Washington, White House press secretary Mike McCurry said the appeal was expected and ``does not change our persistent effort to (secure) their release.″
Asked what the United States was doing, he said: ``A great deal of quiet diplomacy.″
The judge who sentenced the men told al-Jumhuriyyah he did not expect further appeals to be successful, and said he believed ``the result would be clear.″ The newspaper did not identify the judge.