The sentence was passed on Tuesday. The defendants stood accused of providing logistical support to the two Tunisians who, posing as journalists in Afghanistan, detonated a bomb hidden in a camera on 9 September 2001.

The killing of Masood came just two days before the 9/11 attacks on the United States.

Investigators traced the fake Belgian passports found on the two Tunisians back to a network run from Belgium by Tarek Maaroufi, who was sentenced to six years in prison in Brussels in 2003.

Adel Tebourski, 41, who admitted to belonging to an Islamist group led by one of Masood's two Tunisian killers, was sentenced to six years in prison.

Complicity

Tebourski reportedly said he exchanged up to $5800 into US currency for the Tunisian before he left for Afghanistan in May 2000.

Today Masood is a national icon
whose photo adorns army tanks

The court handed Abderahmane Ameroud, a 27-year-old Algerian, a seven-year prison sentence, while Mehrez Azouz, 37, who has dual French and Algerian nationality, was sent to jail for five years.

Youssef el-Aouni, a 31-year-old Frenchman, was sentenced to two years in prison.

All four stood accused of criminal association in relation with a terrorist enterprise, and faced a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Khellaf Hammam, 37, who was not implicated in the Masood affair, was sentenced to two years in prison for organising paramilitary boot camps aimed at selecting recruits to go to Afghanistan.

Two other defendants - Ibrahim Keita, 38, and Azdine Sayeh, 32 - were acquitted.