Syria: Exiled former vice president sentenced to life in prison
A self-exiled former vice president of Syria has been found guilty by a military court of lying to U.N. officials investigating the murder of Lebanon's former prime minister, a lawyer said Saturday. Former Vice President Abdul-Halim Khaddam, who left the country in 2005, has accused the Syrian president of having threatened former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri before he was assassinated in a February 2005 bombing.
From his home in France, Khaddam has also called for the Syrian government's overthrow.
According to the AP, the lawyer who brought the case against Khaddam said the First Military Criminal Court convicted him in absentia on Aug. 17 of giving false testimony against the Syrian government to U.N. officials investigating Hariri's killing. Khaddam was convicted of a dozen charges in total and sentenced to life in prison and hard labor, said the lawyer, Hussameddine Habash.
Among the other charges, Khaddam was found guilty of conspiring with a foreign country to carry out "aggression against Syria," Habash said. Khaddam was also convicted of having contacts with Israelis because of an interview he gave to an Israeli journalist.
Syrian authorities will ask Interpol to arrest and extradite Khaddam, Habash said.