LOME, Togo (AP) _ Two journalists who accused Togo's military ruler of using development aid to buy a rocket-proof Mercedes Benz were convicted Thursday of publishing false information.

They were sentenced to five years' imprisonment and fined $5,550 each.

Lucien Hounkanli and Theo Woboube, publications director and reporter for the monthly Sentinel newspaper, were tried and sentenced in absentia. Both are believed to have fled the small West African country.

In the Sentinel's July edition, they accused President Gen. Gnassingbe Eyadema, Togo's ruler for 27 years, of using $555,550 of European Union aid to buy a Mercedes Benz armored to withstand a rocket attack.

A judge found the journalists guilty of three charges of threatening Eyadema, besmirching his honor and publishing a false report.

In May, the editor of another newspaper was found guilty of insulting Eyadema and sentenced to five years in jail.