A Lebanese national, who has been accused in the United States of “conspiring” to send drone parts to Hezbollah and Syria, pleaded guilty before a Minnesota court on Wednesday, March 11th, to violating US export laws, reports AP.
According to the American Prosecutor’s Office, Issam Hamadeh and his brother Oussama Hamadeh, who is also being prosecuted for smuggling, obtained between 2009 and 2013 sophisticated technologies for equipping drones and illegally exported them to Hezbollah party.
The exported parts included, more specifically, technologies allowing to locate the position of an airplane and digital compasses, two elements that can be combined to create remote piloting systems of drones.
They also included a reactor among other parts. The two men were arrested in February 2018 in South Africa and were extradited to the United States since then.
Washington considers Hezbollah a terrorist organization, and also prohibits any export to Syria, where the two brothers are said to have sent the equipment.
Issam Hamadeh now faces a sentence of up to five years in prison, in a verdict to be announced next month.
However, an agreement was reportedly made between the prosecution and the defense to request a 30-month sentence.
In this agreement, Issam Hamadeh admitted that his brother Oussama had been responsible for purchasing the parts in several different countries, including the United States.
He admitted to having transferred funds, at the request of his brother, from Lebanon to bank accounts in South Africa, knowing that this money would be used to buy the controversial equipment.
Accordingly, Issam Hamadeh had “reason to believe” that these materials and technologies were sent to Syria, which is contrary to American export laws.
The accused will be extradited to Lebanon after the execution of the sentence.