Lebanon ex-minister jailed over plot

Former Lebanese information minister Michel Samaha Image copyright Reuters

A former Lebanese information minister who had close ties to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been jailed for planning attacks.

Michel Samaha was convicted of smuggling explosives into the country and plotting assassinations with the help of Syrian security services.

His sentence amounts to about 10 years in jail under Lebanese law.

Syria’s conflict has had a major impact on neighbouring Lebanon, with parties split on supporting Mr Assad.

Lebanon hosts more than one million Syrian refugees and has seen sporadic violence since the outbreak of the war.

Samaha was arrested in 2012 by a branch of the security forces known to be close to anti-Syrian factions. At the time his family said the detention was blatantly political.

He was initially sentenced to four-and-a-half years in 2015 but that conviction was quashed and a retrial ordered.

Samaha admitted transporting explosives during the trial but said he was the victim of entrapment, AFP news agency reported.

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