Muslim cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed, a former London resident and asylum seeker in Britain who was barred from re-entering the UK after traveling to Lebanon to visit his mother, claimed on Friday that he had been sentenced to life in prison by Lebanese military authorities in a terrorism case that he knew nothing about.
Bakri is among 54 people, including Lebanese, Palestinians and Saudis, sentenced by a military court to life in prison with hard labor after being accused of acts of terrorism, Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency said today.
The 51-year-old said he will appeal after being found guilty in absentia after failing to appear before the court yesterday on charges of providing funding and weapons training to an al-Qaeda-inspired Lebanese radical group.
According to AFP and various other media sources, Bakri holds Lebanese citizenship and currently resides in the coastal city of Tripoli in northern Lebanon after British authorites barred him from returning to the UK.
"I have no ties to Al-Qaeda, direct or indirect, other than the fact that I believe in the same ideology," Bakri told AFP from his home in the Abi Samra neighbourhood, a hub for radical Sunni Islamist groups in Tripoli.