BAGHDAD - A Lebanese Hezbollah commander allegedly responsible for killing four U.S. soldiers in Iraq will be prosecuted for a lesser charge of illegal entry with a forged passport, Iraqi officials said Saturday.
Ali Musa Daqduq was the last American prisoner in Iraq and was handed over to Iraqi authorities on Friday.
On Saturday, two Iraqi officials said Daqduq would be prosecuted for illegal entry with a forged passport - the only Iraqi charge against him. The charge generally carries a sentence of just over five years in prison. But the officials say an investigative judge will consider U.S. allegations against him. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity.
Daqduq has been linked to a brazen raid in which four American soldiers were abducted and killed in the Iraqi holy city of Karbala in 2007.
U.S. officials have long feared that the Iraqis would release Daqduq once he had been transferred from American control. But his case was complicated by issues of international diplomacy and the American political debate over how best to prosecute suspected terrorists.
Under former President George W. Bush, prosecutors had planned to charge Daqduq in a U.S. criminal court. But those plans were scrapped after President Obama took office and lawmakers began restricting his ability to bring suspects into the United States for trial.
Many Republicans had wanted Daqduq prosecuted before a military tribunal at the Guantanamo Bay base in Cuba. The Obama administration had hoped a compromise would be to prosecute Daqduq in a first-of-its-kind military commission on U.S. soil.
But the Iraqi government would not let the United States take Daqduq out of the country, White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said.