A military tribunal in the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa on Friday sentenced six men to life in prison for murdering Italy's ambassador in 2021.
Initially, public prosecutors sought the death sentence for the six defendants, referring to them as part of a "criminal gang."
Luca Attanasio was one of three persons killed when a United Nations convoy was attacked in the DRC's turbulent east on February 22, 2021.
Mustapha Milambo, the driver, and Italian police officer Vittorio Iacovacci were also killed.
Lawyers for the six Congolese men said on Friday that they will appeal the life sentences.
Five of the men are being held in Kinshasa jail, while the sixth is on the run.
Previously, the prosecution portrayed the defendants as criminals who planned to abduct the ambassador and demand a $1 million ransom.
The defendants, who were detained in January 2022, denied any culpability and claimed that their original admissions were obtained by torture.
Their attorneys also maintained that the prosecution had failed to provide evidence in support of the murder accusations, and they sought acquittal.
On Friday, the military tribunal also granted Italy damages in the amount of 2 million Congolese francs.
Much of eastern DRC is under the control of armed organisations, many of which are the result of regional hostilities that erupted in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Militia attacks on people are widespread in the dangerous region.
According to the UN, the DRC has had a de facto moratorium on capital punishment since 2003, yet courts continue to issue death sentences.
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