Lebanese Court Hands down Sentences against 94 SLA Militiamen

Published June 24th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

A military court on Saturday sentenced 92 people accused of collaborating with Israel, or entering Israeli-held territory, to prison terms ranging from one week to five years and fines of up to $633, reported The Associated Press.  

Two other defendants were sentenced in absentia to 15 years imprisonment. They were among 152 people whose trial began Friday, said the agency.  

The remaining suspects will continue their trial in the next court session, most likely Monday, it added.  

So far, 404 people have been sentenced since the trials began three weeks ago following Israel's May 24th withdrawal from a zone it occupied in southern Lebanon. Most received one-year jail terms.  

According to the AP, up to 2,200 fighters or ex-members of the 2,500-strong Israeli-backed South Lebanon Army, were captured or surrendered to the Lebanese authorities after the withdrawal.  

The rest - many of them high-ranking militia officials - fled to Israel.  

Lebanon regards itself as technically at war with Israel, and former SLA members are considered collaborators, the AP said.  

The swift trials, which cannot be appealed, are controversial, regarded by some as unfairly harsh while others complain the government was being too lenient with people they see as traitors.  

The human rights group Amnesty International has said because of the minimal time spent on each suspect, the trials neither allow the innocent to be acquitted nor ensure that those who may be guilty of war crimes will be discovered, according to the agency - Albawaba.com  



© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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