Weapons Smuggling: Iranian, Nigerian To Serve Five-Year Prison Sentence

Weapons Smuggling: Iranian, Nigerian To Serve Five-Year Prison Sentence

Weapons Smuggling: Iranian, Nigerian To Serve Five-Year Prison Sentence

A Nigerian federal judge has found an Iranian and a Nigerian guilty of attempting to smuggle a shipment of military-grade weapons seized at the country's main port.

Justice Okechukwu J. Okeke ruled Monday that Azim Aghajani and his accomplice, Nigerian national Usman Abbas Jega, must serve a five-year prison sentence.

The pair were arrested in 2010 after 13 containers of weapons were discovered at the Lagos port of Apapa and have been on trial since February 2011.

Prosecutors have alleged that Aghajani was seeking to export weapons to the west African nation of Gambia on behalf of the powerful and secretive Iranian force.

The Iranian has denied ties to the Revolutionary Guard, insisting he was a private businessman conducting a legitimate transaction.

The charges attracted wide international attention, in part because it raised questions over whether Iran had violated UN sanctions on weapons sales.

The United Nations added Aghajani to a blacklist last year, labelling him a Revolutionary Guard member tied to "Iranian support for terrorism and extremism worldwide".

Also in 2012, the United States put Aghajani on its national sanctions list.

Jega has claimed he was told the cargo contained construction materials and said he was hired by the Iranian to help clear the shipment through the Nigerian port.

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