Eight men jailed in Tunisia for 'inciting terror'

Eight men have been sentenced to up to 12 years in prison in Tunisia after being found guilty of inciting terror, their lawyer said.

The men were convicted on charges of belonging to a militant Islamist cell and advocating terrorist acts, the lawyer, Samir Ben Amor, said.

All the men denied the charges. The lawyer did not name the terror group.

They were convicted on Saturday by the Court of First Instance in Tunis.

Staunch US ally

Mr Ben Amor said: "Three youths received 12-year sentences and five men were given terms of between two and five years.

"Two of them were convicted in absentia and fled to France and Sweden and demanded political asylum."

Others alleged they had been tortured to extract confessions, the Associated Press news agency reported.

Tunisia, a staunch US ally, has battled an Islamist militancy in recent years and jailed around 1,000 people suspected of planning to help fight US-led forces in Iraq.

Human Rights Watch says nearly all those convicted under the law were accused of planning to join jihadist groups abroad or encouraging others to do so, rather than having planned or committed attacks themselves.

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