Thailand court jails man over bomb-making materials

Lebanese-Swedish man Atris Hussein (C) leaves a holding cell for the courtroom ahead of a scheduled hearing at a criminal court in Bangkok on 11 June 2013 Atris Hussein says he is a businessman who exports a variety of goods

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A court in Thailand has jailed a Swedish man of Lebanese origin for possessing materials that could be made into explosive devices.

Atris Hussein, 49, received a sentence of two years and eight months.

He was arrested in January 2012 at a Bangkok airport after alerts from the US and Israel over a possible threat.

Hussein, who has maintained his innocence, led police to a building in which fertilizer and ammonium nitrate was stored.

Possession of ammonium nitrate, which is used in agriculture, requires a permit in Thailand.

"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 court judge said on Wednesday.

Hussein's lawyer said they would ask for a further reduction in his sentence, saying his client had already spent one year and eight months in jail.

Thai authorities had accused him to having links to Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based Shia Islamist movement backed mainly by Syria and Iran that the US considers to be a terrorist organisation, but Hussein denied any militant links throughout the trial.

He says he is a businessman involved in exporting goods from Thailand to other countries, including Lebanon.

Officials say his case was not related to failed bombings in Bangkok on 14 February 2012 involving Iranian suspects.

Two men were jailed on charges that included illegal possession of explosives, after a blast damaged the house they were staying at.

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