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Radical Cleric Gets Life Sentence in Lebanon

Muslim cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed talking to the media, in Beirut, Lebanon, 5 Sep 2005 (file photo)

A radical Muslim cleric who was sentenced to life in prison on terrorism-related charges says he will not spend one day behind bars.

Omar Bakri said he is innocent of charges Friday, one day after a Lebanese court sentenced him in absentia on charges that include aiding militants and destabilizing Lebanon's government. He was among 54 people who received sentences for militant-related activities.

The cleric, who lives in the northern Lebanese town of Tripoli, says he never received a summons for the trial. He says he has been advised by his attorney that he has 15 days to appeal.

Bakri spent almost 20 years living in Britain before being barred from the country following the 2005 bombings in London. He also praised the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, describing the militants who hijacked planes as the "magnificent 19."

Bakri is the founder of the now disbanded al-Muhajirun radical Islamist group. He was born in Syria but also holds Lebanese citizenship.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.