By Ahmed Aziz
An Algerian court sentenced a Liberian national of Lebanese origin to death and another seven African nationals from Guinea and Mali to 10 years in prison over espionage for Israel, an Algerian judicial source said on Tuesday.
The eight were arrested in an operation carried out by the Algerian police in 2015 in the city of Ghardaia, 600 kilometers south of Algiers, and found with documents and communications equipment related to espionage for Israel, said the source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
The verdict confirmed an earlier verdict of the same court last November, and can be appealed before the country's supreme court.
The charges included threatening Algerian national security, foreign espionage, and involvement in a criminal group as part of a collective project threatening national security.
"We cannot discuss the verdict of the Algerian judiciary, but this case has an important political dimension, which in any case goes beyond the fate of the defendants, far beyond," Algerian lawyer and criminal law professor Yahia Sharif Mounir, who attended the trial, told Anadolu Agency.
He called the ruling “a political message from the Algerian state that any attempt to spy against it, in particular by Israel, will face the most severe penalties.”