A court in Republic of Congo has convicted the former deputy chief of the intelligence services of plotting a coup and sentenced him to hard labor for life.

Col. Marcel Ntsourou, once considered an ally of the president, fell from grace in 2012 after a massive explosion at an arsenal in the capital. He was convicted for participating in the explosion — suspected of being a coup attempt — but given a suspended sentence.

He was arrested again late last year following heavy fighting between men loyal to him and police. At the trial that concluded Thursday, he was accused of possessing war-grade weapons, committing assassinations, and plotting a coup.

A lawyer for his defense said the court ignored the argument that Ntsourou was acting in his own defense.