A former commander in Afghanistan's police force convicted of murdering a German photojournalist last year has been reduced from the death penalty to 20 years in prison.
The police officer Naquibullah, who uses only one name, shouted "Allahu Akbar [God is great]" before opening fire on Associated Press photojournalist Anja Niedringhaus and correspondent Kathy Gannon without warning as they sat in a parked car in eastern Afghanistan April 4, 2014. Niedringhaus died from her wounds but Gannon survived and is still recovering, the PBS Newshour reported.
Afghanistan's Supreme Court reduced the sentence March 28 after an an appeal from a lower court that had sentenced Naquibullah to the death penalty in July, media outlets including the AP said.
Niedringhaus was known for her photography work in conflict zones and humane depictions of ordinary life. The International Women’s Media Foundation created a new award for courage honoring Niedringhaus.
"It is almost exactly a year since Anja was murdered and Kathy wounded while reporting in the country they both loved," said Kathleen Carroll, AP's executive editor, according to the wire service. "We are glad the judicial system in Afghanistan has completed the case against their attacker and trust the sentence will be carried out in full. And as the sad anniversary approaches, our thoughts and care are with Anja's family and with Kathy."