Nigeria convicts Iranian, Nigerian of illegal arms shipment

A Fedral High Court sitting in Lagos yesterday sentenced an alleged member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Azim Aghajani, and his Nigerian accomplice, Ali Abass Jega, to five years in jail each over an illegal arms shipment.
Aghajani and Jega were detained in 2010 when authorities at the Lagos Port Complex (LPC), Apapa, Lagos, discovered 13 containers of weapons that had been declared as construction materials.
In convicting the duo on four of five criminal counts, Justice Okechukwu Okeke said: “I now pronounce them guilty as charged.”
While the crimes in question carried a potential life sentence, the judge said that he was swayed by a plea for leniency from the defence and by the conduct of the pair while in detention.

“In sentencing the accused, I have taken into consideration the plea for mercy by the defence team, but the law has to take its course,” Okeke said.
The sentence will be counted retroactively from February 2011, when their trial began, meaning the men will walk free in under three years.
The Iranian convict has denied having links with Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, insisting he was a private businessman conducting a legitimate transaction.
The United Nations (UN) added Aghajani to a blacklist last year, labelling him a Revolutionary Guard member tied to “Iranian support for terrorism and extremism worldwide”.
The United States (US) has also put Aghajani on its national sanctions list.

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