An Iraqi court on Sunday sentenced to death a former policeman convicted of killing prominent academic Hisham al-Hashemi, whose murder in 2020 sparked condemnation in Iraq and abroad.
The sentence against Ahmed Hamdawi Oueid for killing Hashemi, an expert on Sunni extremism and a government security adviser, was handed down by a Baghdad criminal court and can be appealed, the judiciary said.
A well-respected academic and expert on jihadist groups, Hashemi was shot dead outside his Baghdad home in July 2020 by gunmen on motorcycles.
A year later, state television aired the alleged confession of the mastermind of the assault who was then identified by his full name Ahmed Hamdawi Oueid al-Kenani.
Then a police lieutenant aged 36, he said he shot Hashemi with a pistol.
At the time a security source told AFP that the suspect was linked to the powerful pro-Iran Kataeb Hezbollah, which Hashemi had criticised in his writings and media commentary.
On Sunday, Iraq's Supreme Judicial Council said in a statement that "a death sentence has been issued against the criminal Ahmed Hamdawi Oueid for the murder of security expert Hisham al-Hashemi".
Hashemi's murder sparked outrage across Iraq and was denounced by several Western countries as well as the United Nations.
Hashemi had thrown his support behind popular protests that had broken out in Iraq a year before his death against the government, which was seen by many as inept, corrupt and too close to Iran.
More than 600 people were killed and thousands wounded in the protests that had erupted in October 2019 and a crackdown on the demonstrations.
In the aftermath of the protests, a spate of killings, attempted murders and abductions targeted dozens of activists in Iraq.