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Lebanese Court Sentences Militiamen

October 13, 2001

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ Three former Israeli-allied militiamen were sentenced to death in absentia for killing three children during bombings of south Lebanon in 1997 and 1998.

Hassan Fahmi Awada, Haris Jerjis Younis and Elias Abdullah Faris were convicted in military court of bombarding a school in the southern village of Arabsalim. Their convictions and sentences were posted Saturday.

The bombings killed three children and a number of adults, according to the verdicts handed down late Friday. The exact number of those killed was not immediately available.

The three men were members of the now-defunct South Lebanon Army militia that helped Israel police a border zone in southern Lebanon. Their whereabouts now are unknown.

The 2,500-strong militia collapsed after Israeli forces ended their 18-year occupation of southern Lebanon in May 2000.

Since then, about 2,200 former militiamen have surrendered or have been captured. The rest, mostly high-ranking officers, fled to Israel or other countries. Some 49 former militiamen have been sentenced to death in absentia.

Radwan Hussein al-Kais, an ex-militiaman who was present in court, was sentenced to five years in prison for bombarding the Haboush village in south Lebanon, killing a Lebanese woman, the court said.

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