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Lebanese Court Jails Ex-Militiamen

November 5, 2000

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ A military court on Saturday sentenced 24 former Israeli-allied militiamen and two policemen to prison for collaborating with Israel during its occupation of south Lebanon.

All but three defendants were in custody when the court handed down sentences ranging from three months to 20 years. Verdicts by the court, which has since June sentenced at least 1,000 people on similar charges, cannot be appealed.

Two of the three tried in absentia were sentenced to 20 years in prison at hard labor for serving as security officials of the now-defunct, Israeli-backed South Lebanon Army militia and collaborating with the Jewish state, the court said in its judgment.

The third defendant tried in absentia was sentenced to two years in jail and fined $1,332, while the two policemen received 18-month jail terms each. One defendant was acquitted for lack of evidence.

Lebanon, which is technically at war with Israel, prohibits any dealings or contacts with the Jewish state.

The South Lebanon Army collapsed after Israel withdrew its troops from south Lebanon in May, ending its 18-year occupation of a strip of the south Lebanese border. Some 2,200 of the SLA, which once numbered 2,500 people, surrendered to Lebanese authorities or were captured after Israel withdrew. The rest, mostly ranking SLA officers, fled to Israel with their families.

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