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Madagascar expels Israeli convicted as mercenary

A lawyer says an Israeli businessman has been convicted in Madagascar in a mercenary plot to overthrow the government of this troubled Indian Ocean island.

Harlette Rafanomadio says Joseph Akiva, convicted Tuesday of acting as a mercenary and forming an illegal commando unit, was given a suspended three-year prison sentence and ordered to leave the country.

In 2009, Akiva was accused of taking part in military action to suppress demonstrators who supported a rival to the former president. Dozens of demonstrators were killed.

Soon after, presidential rival Andry Rajoelina took power in a coup. He has since used the courts against his exiled predecessor and those who supported him.

Akiva had returned to Madagascar to restart construction projects when he was arrested in January, his lawyer said.