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Russian Taliban Soldier Convicted Of Terrorism In U.S. Court

An artist's rendering shows Irek Hamidullin, front center, his attorney Robert Wagner, front left, and interpreter Ihab Samra, front right, as judge Henry Hudson, left, listens in Federal Court in Richmond, Virginia, in November 2014.

A U.S. jury convicted a former Russian military tank commander of planning and leading a Taliban attack on U.S. forces in Afghanistan in 2009.

Irek Hamidullin showed no expression as guilty verdicts were read August 7 on all 15 counts, including providing material support to terrorism, attempting to destroy U.S. aircraft, and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction.

He faces up to life in prison. Sentencing was set for November 6.

The verdict came after eight hours of deliberations and five days of testimony. Defense attorneys declined to say whether the convictions will be appealed.

Hamidullin did not testify. In secretly recorded interviews, he talked about planning the attack but denied ever firing a shot.

The case addressed the novel question of whether an enemy combatant captured on a foreign battlefield can be convicted in U.S. civilian court of being a terrorist. The Obama administration is trying to show it can use the criminal court system to deal with terror suspects — a move criticized by some lawmakers who believe such cases should be handled by military tribunals.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters