NICOSIA - The lawyer for an admitted Hezbollah member said Thursday a Cyprus appeals court has upheld his client's conviction for helping to plan attacks against Israelis on Cyprus.
Hossam Taleb Yaacoub had denied involvement in plots against Israelis and said he didn't know what the information he collected for the Hezbollah militant group was for.
He was found guilty last year on five of eight charges including participation in a criminal organization and handed down a 4-year prison sentence. No Israelis were attacked.
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His lawyer, Antonis Georgiades, said the three-judge appeals ruling came Wednesday. The lone dissenting judge found that the evidence didn't support the charges against the Swedish-Lebanese citizen beyond a reasonable doubt and that his actions didn't prove Hezbollah to be a criminal organization, Georgiades said.
Yaacoub told the court last year he had collected information on Israeli tourists visiting the island, but denied plotting to attack them.
The 24-year-old said he had been asked to log information on Israeli flight arrivals in Cyprus and jot down the number plates of buses carrying tourists from the Jewish state.
He said he was unaware what the information was for and was arrested in July 2012 before he could communicate the information to a handler, whom he did not know, in Lebanon.
The court said Hezbollah had ordered him to carry out six missions on Cyprus since December 2011, and that he was paid a total of 4,800 dollars by the powerful Shiite terror group.
It said the accused contacted Hezbollah through various Internet cafes in different towns.
In his testimony, Yaacoub denied planning any attack, but did admit to being in Hezbollah for the past four years while also insisting he worked solely in its political branch.
The defendant said he received orders from a masked Hezbollah operative called Ayman and was told to stake out hotels and hospitals on Cyprus, including in Limassol and the tourist resort of Ayia Napa.