Seventeen Lebanese Sentenced for ‘Entering Israel’
The Beirut military court has sentenced 17 Lebanese, including two women, for entering the "enemy state" of Israel, judicial sources said.
The two women were fined 333 dollars each by the court at a session late Monday, the sources said.
Two men were sentenced in absentia to two years in jail while the remaining 13 others were given prison sentences of three weeks and were ordered to pay 666 dollars, they said.
They were all charged with entering enemy territory without permission when they lived in Israeli-occupied southern Lebanon, the sources said.
In total, 1,664 sentences have been ordered since the June 5 start of the trial of some 2,200 Lebanese accused of collaborating with Israel before its May 24 withdrawal from Lebanon after 22 years of occupation.
Charges have included collaboration with Israel, entering Israel or enrolment in the now-disbanded Israeli-allied South Lebanon Army militia (SLA).
After sitting just once a week during the court holiday season, the military court has returned to holding three marathon sessions per week to wrap up the matter.
Judicial sources said Tuesday a third former militiaman identified as Abdel Monem Salim Qarout, died in prison from cancer 15 days ago.
Protests had erupted after the death in prison on Wednesday of former SLA member Barakat Said al-Amil whom a previously unknown group calling itself the Organization of South Lebanon said had been subjected to torture and lack of medical treatment.
The Lebanese Shiite movement Hizbollah, which spearheaded the anti-Israeli resistance, has frequently criticized the lightness of the sentences.
In contrast, several opposition leaders have called for an amnesty for the population of the former occupied zone, saying they were forced to deal with Israel after being abandoned by the Lebanese state.
Amnesty International criticized the trials of SLA members back in June calling them a parody of justice which "can in no way help national reconciliation" in Lebanon -- BEIRUT (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)