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Military court sentences Bakri to life in prison for 'terror'
Cleric refuses to recognize ‘man-made’ court, insists verdict designed to please US

By Patrick Galey and Carol Rizk
Daily Star staff
Saturday, November 13, 2010


Military court sentences Bakri to life in prison for 'terror'

BEIRUT: A militant Sunni Muslim cleric was sentenced in absentia Friday to life imprisonment after being found guilty of “terrorism” offenses.

Omar Bakri Mohammad was convicted of inciting violence committed by Sunni militants during an attack on Lebanese Army soldiers prior to the 2007 Nahr al-Bared conflict.

A permanent military tribunal also sentenced 54 men of Lebanese, Syrian, Palestinian and Saudi nationalities to varying terms in prison for “undermining the authority of the Lebanese state and inciting murder, looting and vandalism by possessing explosive and flammable devices.”

“Some of the convicted helped transport terrorists to a residential apartment in Tripoli and provided them with weapons to kill soldiers and civilians and to attempt killing others. They also helped criminals escape justice and they provided them with food and shelter,” a judicial source added.

Bakri said Friday he was yet to be contacted by security forces and remained defiant at the prospect of spending the rest of his life in jail.

“I have never been asked to appear in court. I don’t know who these [fellow defendants] are and nobody informed me because authorities said they didn’t know my address,” Bakri told The Daily Star from his home in Tripoli. “I am well known; I am a man who speaks against man-made courts but I have always been against violence.”

Bakri, who has joint Lebanese-Syrian citizenship, has courted controversy for a number of years. After spells with the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and Hizb ut-Tahrir in Lebanon, he founded the now-disbanded Al-Muhajiroun group during his 20-year stay in the UK, returning to Lebanon in 2005 after the British government barred his passage to London.

He rose to prominence in the wake of the September 11 attacks for praising the actions of Osama Bin Laden.

“I was guilty in Britain for being a Muslim and now I am guilty in Lebanon of being a Muslim,” he said. “Those who welcome this decision do not believe in human rights and freedom of speech.”:nuts:

The judicial source confirmed that Bakri had 15 days to appeal the court’s decision. “If he chooses to oppose the verdict, he is expected to present himself to judicial authorities and he will be tried again. The second verdict may be different than the first,” the source said. “If he chooses not to oppose the verdict and the 15-day-deadline expires, authorities will arrest him wherever he is.”

It was not clear why Bakri had not been arrested; the cleric is a vocally active member of Tripoli’s religious debate and features regularly on television shows.

The source said it was possible Bakri had not been taken to custody because security services no longer deemed him a threat to the public. “[Bakri] has connections that can help him avoid being arrested,” the source added.

Bakri, for his part, said he had no plan to appeal the judge’s decision and suggested his conviction had been politically motivated.

“I can’t challenge [the verdict] as I cannot deal with any man-made law in this country or abroad,” he said. “It is better for me to go to jail than to be a prisoner to man-made laws. Put me in front of an Islamic court, and of course I would be innocent of wrongdoing.

“This is a political accusation; they issued this verdict to please America.”

The cleric said he was confident he would not spend “a day” in prison.

“I have been convicted so they can silence me, but I do not recognize man-made courts. No one can imprison me, this is ridiculous,” he added.

Of the 54 verdicts, 22 were issued in absentia; these included Fatima Ahmad Alloush and Rim Abdel-Hafiz Ghazoul, who received two years and three months in prison respectively.

The tribunal issued other verdicts varying between one year and seven years of hard labor.

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Clear to say he is nuts...I hope he has the shittiest time in prison:) It is well deserved
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
ISF arrests Bakri in Tripoli
November 14, 2010 share

Lebanese police arrested radical Islamic preacher Omar Bakri on Sunday just days after he boasted he would "not spend one day" of a life sentence handed down last week behind bars.

"He was arrested by a patrol of intelligence agents from the Internal Security Force in his home in Tripoli," a security official told AFP, adding that Bakri is "currently being transferred to Beirut."

An AFP correspondent at the scene said police had fired in the air to disperse curious onlookers who had gathered around Bakri's home.

Bakri, a fundamentalist Sunni Muslim who has praised the September 11, 2001 attacks and hailed the hijackers as the "magnificent 19," was sentenced to life by a Lebanese military court on Thursday.

The 50-year-old, who lived in Britain for 20 years, was found guilty, along with more than 40 other Lebanese, Palestinians, Syrians and Saudis, of "incitement to murder, theft and the possession of arms and explosives."

The day after the sentence was handed down he vowed he would "not spend one day in prison."

"I will not hand myself in to any court. I do not believe in the law in Britain as in Lebanon," he told AFP at his home.

-AFP/NOW Lebanon
 
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