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Thailand Jails Hezbollah Bomb Suspect

Swedish citizen Atris Hussein jailed for possession of bomb-making materials.
By Ari Soffer
First Publish: 9/18/2013, 11:45 AM

Swedish Hezbollah suspect Atris Hussein
Swedish Hezbollah suspect Atris Hussein
Reuters

A 49 year-old Swedish national has been jailed over an alleged Hezbollah bomb plot in Thailand.

Atris Hussein was arrested in January after Israeli intelligence services tipped off their Thai counterparts over a planned terrorist attack during the New Year.

He was sentenced to four years for "illegal armament possession," but will only have to serve two years and eight months after the prosecution failed to convince judges of his connection to the Hezbollah terrorist group.

Instead, the conviction relates to Hussein's possession of 2,800 kilos (2.8 tons) of ammonium nitrate, which is used in the manufacturing of explosives, and the possession of which is banned in Thailand without a permit - which Hussein did not have.

"The accused hid bomb-making material that is illegal and could pose a security risk but because he was willing to co-operate with the authorities, his sentenced is reduced from four years to two years and eight months," a judge said in a statement following the ruling.

Hussein - who denies all charges, including his alleged links to Hezbollah - reportedly reacted to the sentencing by smiling and hugging his wife and daughter, saying that he felt "happy."

His defense attorneys say they will appeal his sentence.

Thailand is a popular destination for Israeli tourists, and has seen attempts by Hezbollah terrorists to target Israelis there in the past.

Last month, two Iranian men were jailed for their part in a 2012 bomb plot against Israeli interests in Thailand.

The plot was broken up in February of that year, during which one of the convicted men, 29 year-old Saeid Moradi, accidentally blew his own legs off as he hurled explosives at arresting officers in an attempt to evade capture.

Moradi was sentenced to life in prison for that attack on police officers, while his accomplice, 43 year-old Mohammad Khazaei, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for possession of explosives.