Columbia grocer from Iraq prepares for prison

Aug 16, 2012

A Columbia grocer convicted of violating federal sanctions against Iraq by sending money overseas is preparing to start a three-year prison sentence later this month.

Former University of Missouri nuclear scientist Shakir Hamoodi owns the World Harvest market. He pleaded guilty in 2009 to sending about $200,000 to family, friends and charities in his native Iraq from 1991 to 2003.

A federal judge sentenced Hamoodi in May, but he was allowed to remain free until after the Islamic holiday of Ramadan.

Supporters want Hamoodi's federal sentence commuted but acknowledge the odds are long. They're holding a potluck supper Aug. 25 in Columbia to show support for the market, which will remain open and be operated by one of Hamoodi's sons.