BEIRUT: Ten Lebanese nationals Tuesday were convicted of having entered Israeli territory and acquired Israeli citizenship.
A Military Tribunal headed by Brig. Gen. Hussein Abdallah ordered in absentia the punishment of hard labor for 15 years for Lebanese nationals Gerges Daoud, Reem Daoud, Raymond Daoud, Susan Louka, Charbel Louka, Mariam Louka, Mirella Louka, Pierre Louka, Siham Assaad and Claude al-Rai.
The tribunal stripped the nationals of their civil rights and ordered that arrest warrants be issued against all of them.
The convicts belong to families who fought for the South Lebanon Army and fled to Israel after it collapsed in 2000.
The SLA was an Israeli-supported Lebanese militia led by Gen. Antoine Lahad in southern Lebanon that fought during the Lebanese Civil War (1975-90). The militia fought mainly the Palestine Liberation Organization as well as Hezbollah-led Lebanese guerilla forces throughout the war, and received weapons and equipment from Israel. It disintegrated when the Israel Defense Forces withdrew from Lebanon in 2000, leading some of its members to seek emergency refuge across the border, where they and their families remain.
Tuesday’s convictions follow the indictment in January of 14 Lebanese nationals for allegedly acquiring Israeli citizenship, the state-run National News Agency reported at the time. According to Military Investigative Judge Fadi Sawwan’s indictment, the group had entered Israeli territory and received passports from the Jewish state.
In a separate case Tuesday, Abdallah also sentenced the arrested Essam Ghallab to three years in prison and stripped him of his civil rights. The tribunal convicted the accused of “communicating with the Israeli enemy and defending Israel’s right to exist and protect itself against its neighbors and for disclosing his desire to fight with its army,” which he expressed on social media.