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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — An international court on Tuesday found a Muslim radical guilty of committing a war crime by overseeing the destruction of historic mausoleums in the Malian desert city of Timbuktu, and sentenced him to nine years in prison.
War crimes judges on Tuesday sentenced a former Islamist rebel who admitted wrecking holy shrines during Mali's 2012 conflict to nine years in prison, in the first such case to focus on destruction of cultural heritage. During a brief trial at the International Criminal Court in August Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi asked for forgiveness and said he had been swept up in an "evil wave" by al Qaeda and the Ansar Dine Islamist groups that briefly seized control of the ancient sites. In June and July of 2012 "10 of the most important and well-known sites in Timbuktu were attacked and destroyed.