Washington, D.C. Attorneys for an American citizen facing execution in Iraq appealed Friday in U.S. federal court to keep the man in American custody - preventing his death - while another case is being appealed.
The citizen, Mohammad Munaf, was convicted and sentenced to death by an Iraqi judge earlier this week on charges he helped in the 2005 kidnapping of three Romanian journalists in Baghdad, court papers show.
Iraqi-born Munaf, a naturalized U.S. citizen since 2000, was working as their translator and guide. He maintains his innocence.
In an emergency request filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Washington, Munaf's attorneys claim his rights to a fair trial in Iraq were violated when he was convicted without being able to present evidence in his defense - or to see the evidence against him.
The legal filing asks the court to block the Defense Department, which has been holding Munaf at a prison at the Baghdad International Airport, from turning him over to Iraqi authorities.