A Paris court has convicted nine people for links to a militant group that the U.N. Security Council has described as an al-Qaida affiliate.

The trial that began last month came four years after police in France, Germany and the Netherlands rounded up the suspects.

The defendants convicted in connection with collecting funds for the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which the U.N. listed as an al-Qaida affiliate weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Defense lawyers said the funds were for humanitarian uses — such as paying for sheep for slaughter under Muslim ritual.

The heaviest sentence in Tuesday's verdict came down on suspected ringleader, Irfan Demirtas, a 53-year-old Turkish-Dutch national, who was given an eight-year sentence, €20,000 ($26,170) fine and barred from French territory after his sentence is up.