Eight men have been sentenced to up to 12 years in prison in Tunisia on charges of belonging to a militant Islamist cell, said a defence lawyer.
The lawyer, Samir Ben Amor, said the defendants were convicted by the Court of First Instance in Tunis for belonging to a terrorist group and advocating terrorist acts.
He did not name the group. All the men denied the charges, Reuters reports.
“Three youths received 12-year sentences and five men were given terms of between two and five years,” said Ben Amor. “Two of them were convicted in absentia and fled to France and Sweden and demanded political asylum.”
Government officials were not immediately available to comment.
Tunisia’s secular-leaning government is seen as a staunch ally of the West in combating Islamist militancy.
Lawyers say around 2,000 people have been arrested since 2003 on terrorism-related charges. The Justice Ministry says the number does not exceed 400.