BUENOS AIRES - Former Argentine President Carlos Menem
received a seven-year prison sentence for arms smuggling to Croatia and Ecuador
in the 1990s, but he will not be jailed unless his fellow senators strip him of
immunity, a court said on Thursday.
Menem, now a frail 82-year-old
senator, was found guilty in March of being "co-author of the offense of
aggravated contraband" in an appeals court decision that overturned a lower
court's acquittal two years before.
He can appeal the ruling to the
Supreme Court. In the past, Menem has said he was "completely innocent" and had
no idea the weapons shipments he authorized to Venezuela and Panama would be
diverted to countries under arms embargoes.