A Congolese military court has sentenced two Norwegian men to death after finding them guilty on charges of murder and espionage.
|Norwegian citizens Tjostolv Moland, left, and Joshua French, right, listen to a judge reading out their sentence at a court in Kisangani, Congo, 08 Sep 2009|
The court Tuesday also ordered the men and the Norwegian government to pay more than $60 million in damages.
The packed courtroom broke into cheers as the verdict was read.
The two Norwegians, Joshua French and Tjostolv Moland, were accused of shooting and killing their driver near the central Congolese city of Kisangani in May.
The two have denied all charges, while Norway rejects accusations that the men were spying.
In Oslo, Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Ghar Stoere condemned the court's decision and said Norway will seek to block the men's execution.
Executions are rare in the Democratic Republic of Congo, though the death penalty remains legal.
It remains unclear what the Norwegians were doing in Congo. A Kenyan newspaper, The Daily Nation, reports that the two men, both of them former soldiers, had come to set up a private security firm.
Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.