Military Court Convenes more SLA Trials

Published June 22nd, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

A military court resumed on Wednesday trial hearings of 150 South Lebanon Army (SLA) suspects, reported the Daily Star newspaper.  

The court, which heard the cases of 115 alleged collaborators and 35 others who reportedly entered Israel, was due to hand down its verdicts and sentences around midnight, said the paper.  

The most prominent defendants were Elias Eid, the chief guard of the SLA's TV station; Manal Sader, the private secretary of the SLA's second-in-command, and George Mansour, who controlled SLA artillery positions that shelled villages along the edge of the former occupation zone.  

The court, which is meeting three times a week, has sentenced 250 people since the first session on June 5th.  

The two harshest penalties handed down were 15 years in prison and a 15-year ban from liberated areas, according to the paper.  

Sentences of five to 10 years are reserved for those who performed intelligence work for the SLA or the Israeli Army.  

Those who enlisted in the SLA have generally been sentenced to one year in prison and those who entered "enemy territory" to one or two months. The penalties, which are sometimes supplemented by fines, have been doubled when they were handed down in absentia, said the Daily Star.  

Those arrested after Israel's withdrawal last month have been held at the army barracks in Beirut or in the nearby suburbs.  

The Beirut Bar Association has assigned lawyers to represent the defendants. Assertiveness from the lawyers remains rare. On Wednesday morning, only five lawyers pleaded for their clients, while others simply sought lower penalties, arguing that their clients had no other option than to work with the SLA or in Israel to make a living, according to the paper - Albawaba.com 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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