A court in Algiers has convicted an Algerian of taking part in the 2003 kidnapping of 15 European tourists, mainly German, in the Sahara Desert and sentenced him to life in prison.

Amar Gharbia, 39, was arrested in 2004 in Chad along with a citizen from Mali, Youcef Ben Mohamed, 25, who also was convicted Tuesday and imprisoned for seven years for belonging to a terrorist group.

Both belonged to the Salafist Group for Call and Combat which later transformed into al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, still active in Algeria and Mali.

The kidnappings were ordered by a notorious terrorist Amar Saifi, known as Abderazak El Para.

The 14 tourists were eventually freed but one, a German woman, died in captivity.