updated 4/16/2007 3:18:46 PM ET 2007-04-16T19:18:46

An alleged Iraqi "sleeper agent" sent by Saddam Hussein to spy on his enemies in the United States was convicted Monday of lying about his ties to the former Baghdad regime.

Sami Latchin, 59, was taken into custody minutes after the federal jury verdict, which could send him to prison for up to 40 years. Prosecutors warned that Latchin would be a flight risk if allowed to stay free until sentencing.

"He'll take that bracelet off (his ankle), and he's going to run," Assistant U.S. Attorney James M. Conway told Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer.

Jurors deliberated about three hours on evidence that included testimony from three former Iraqi intelligence officers, two of whom took the stand under aliases, saying they were concerned about reprisals.

The evidence also included documents slipped to an FBI agent by Iraqi dissidents after U.S. tanks rolled into Baghdad. Prosecutors said the Arabic documents showed that Latchin was an agent for Iraqi intelligence.

Latchin, wearing headphones to hear an Arabic translation of the proceedings, showed no emotion when the verdict was announced, convicting him of all five charges against him.

The indictment charged him with lying on his U.S. citizenship application, acting as an unregistered foreign agent and conspiring to do so, lying to an FBI agent, and violating U.S. sanctions against Iraq.

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