BEIRUT - A military court has sentenced 34 people to prison terms of up to 15 years for contact or collaboration with Israel during its 18-year occupation of the security zone in southern Lebanon. Most of them were also fined up to one million Lebanese pounds ($666) each.
The verdicts and sentences were handed down late Monday and posted on the court's bulletin board early Tuesday. The court, whose rulings cannot be appealed, dropped charges against four defendants for lack of evidence.
The court sentenced a man to 15 years in prison in absentia for serving in the security branch of the South Lebanese Army which operated with Israel's backing. A fugitive woman also was sentenced in absentia to 12 months in jail for entering Israel, according to the court statement.
One defendant received a three-year jail term, while two got 24 months and six got 12 months for collaborating with Israel and joining the SLA. The militia collapsed after Israel withdrew its troops from south Lebanon last May.
Seven other defendants received prison terms of up to eight months on the same charge. One defendant was sentenced to one month in jail and 15 others to three weeks for entering Israel. Two women were fined 500,000 pounds ($333) each on the same charge.
Since June, the military court has sentenced more than 2,200 people to jail terms of up to 20 years. Hundreds more are awaiting trial. At least 14 former SLA militiamen have been sentenced to death in absentia for killing Lebanese guerrillas who were fighting Israeli forces in south Lebanon.
Some 2,200 members of the SLA, which once numbered 2,500 fighters, surrendered to Lebanese authorities or were captured after Israel withdrew. The rest, mostly ranking officers, fled with their families to Israel or other countries.