"American citizenship cannot displace the fact of a criminal conviction in a non-United States court and permit the district court to exercise jurisdiction," the court said.

 

Supreme court case

 

Munaf was working for the journalists as a guide when they were abducted in March 2005. He was kept hostage with them for 55 days.

 

He was detained by the US army shortly after the reporters were freed.

 

Munaf is due to hang once he is handed over to Iraqi authorities from US custody in Iraq.

 

The appeals court based its ruling on a 1948 US supreme court case which found that after World War II US courts had no jurisdiction over Japanese citizens held in Japan and tried by a military tribunal authorised by General Douglas MacArthur.

 

In November last year, Munaf's lawyers asked the high court to suspend the transfer of their client to Iraqi authorities until a federal court ruled on the issue of legal custody, but the supreme court did not intervene.