Lebanon sentences radical cleric Bakri life in prison

The court sentenced Omar Bakri Mohammed for carrying out "terrorist acts”.

Beirut: A Lebanese military court sentenced Islamist militant leader Omar Bakri Mohammed, banned from Britain, and 21 others to life in prison for carrying out "terrorist acts”, a judicial source said on Friday.

The source said Bakri was among 47 people sentenced on Thursday night, who received terms ranging from three months to life imprisonment. Those who received life were sentenced in absentia and have the right to appeal against the verdict but they must then attend the court`s sessions.

"They belonged to an armed group with the purpose of ... killing and sabotaging. They also helped terrorists in moving and gave them weapons to kill civilians and troops," the source said.

The source did not specify which specific attacks were involved but said they took place in Lebanon, not abroad.

Bakri, a Lebanese citizen of Syrian origin who lives in north Lebanon, denied the charges against him, denounced the sentence and said it was "politically motivated”.

"I haven`t been informed about the date of the session even though my address is very well known and my lawyer is known," Bakri said, adding that he would not give himself up.

Bakri, who used to live in London, became infamous when he referred to the hijackers behind the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States as the "magnificent 19”. He has been banned from entering Britain for the last five years.

Bakri has insisted his message is peaceful and said the controversial "magnificent 19" comment was a stunt.

Bureau Report