Ex-Lebanese minister sentenced to 4 ½ years in prison for transporting explosives from Syria

A military court has convicted a former Lebanese minister on charges of plotting a wave of bombings at Syria's behest and sentenced him to four-and-a-half years in prison.

Lebanon's state-run news agency says the court also stripped former Information Minister Michel Samaha of his civil rights in its verdict, issued Wednesday.

Last month, Samaha confessed to transporting explosives into Lebanon in collaboration with Syrian intelligence.

Lebanon, a country plagued by decades of strife, has been on edge since the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad broke out in March 2011.

The 2012 arrest of Samaha, a close ally of Assad, and his indictment a year later dealt an embarrassing blow to Syria, which has long acted with impunity in Lebanon.