- Associated Press - Friday, April 8, 2016

BEIRUT (AP) - Lebanon’s Military Court of Cassation on Friday sentenced a former Cabinet minister convicted on terrorism charges to 13 years in prison, three months after he was set free on bail pending retrial, Lebanese judicial officials said.

The officials said Michel Samaha, an ex-minister of information and close ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, will be sent to prison to spend the remaining nearly seven years of his sentence. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Samaha, who was detained in 2012, was convicted earlier by a Lebanese military court on charges of plotting bombings at the behest of Syria. He was sentenced last year to four-and-a-half years in prison.

Surprisingly, the court agreed in January to release Samaha on a $100,000 bail. He was banned from leaving the country pending a retrial. He was also stripped of his civil rights, which means that he will not be able to take any official government post or vote in elections.

In accordance with Lebanese law, a prison year is counted as nine months, meaning that Samaha will have to serve six years and nine months after counting the time he has already spent in jail.

The new sentence was praised by anti-Syrian politicians.

“Terrorist Samaha will return to jail today which is the natural place for whoever plans to kill civilians,” former Prime Minister Saad Hariri wrote on Twitter.

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