Date:  September 5, 2023

Stephen Troell on the Martyr’s Bridge in Baghdad. Photo: @stephentroell / X

Iraq (International Christian Concern) – Five individuals—four Iraqi militia members and one Iranian national—were recently sentenced to life imprisonment by an Iraqi court for the murder of American Christian Stephen Troell that took place in November 2022.  

The five individuals stated that their attempt was to kidnap Stephen and hold him for ransom, but instead ended up shooting him dead while Stephen was driving his car in Baghdad. Stephen was survived by his wife and three daughters.  

Stephen was living in Iraq with his family, worked with an American-based NGO, and worked at an English institute in Baghdad. During his time in Baghdad, he frequently documented his love for his family, his love for Iraq and the people of the Middle East, and his Christian faith.  

At the time of the assassination, it was unclear exactly if Stephen himself was a target. Some reports highlight that his murderers claimed that he was an American spy and thus a target for Iran and powerful Baghdad-based Iranian-backed militias due to inaccurate Iranian government media claims that he was employed with USAID. Other reports state that he was also targeted by the militias due to his activity of publicly sharing his faith online in a Muslim-majority city like Baghdad and thus had been under surveillance by militias for a period of time leading up to his assassination.  

In the wake of the ruling, the U.S. State Department issued its support for the court’s decision stating, “We welcome the Iraqi court’s decision to convict and sentence multiple individuals on terrorism charges for their roles in the killing of U.S. citizen Stephen Troell. We once again extend our condolences to Mr. Troell’s family and hope this verdict brings them some measure of justice.” 

HOW TO PRAY: Pray for continued healing for Stephen’s family. Pray for these five men to come to know the love of Christ. Pray for those who are still awaiting justice for violence in Iraq.