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Last Updated: Monday, 10 April 2006, 10:21 GMT 11:21 UK
Bollywood film star sent to jail
Actor Salman Khan is escorted by policemen through a crowd outside Jodhpur District Court in India
Salman Khan is one of Bollywood's biggest stars
Bollywood star Salman Khan has been sentenced to five years in prison for poaching rare antelope.

The judge in Jodhpur in India's western Rajasthan state also fined Khan 25,000 rupees ($550). An accomplice was given one year in jail.

Khan, who was in court to hear the verdict, has always denied wrong-doing.

He was sentenced to a year in prison in February in an earlier poaching case, but had remained out of custody while appealing against that verdict.

Now no one can dare to kill innocent animals
Mahipal Bishnoi
Prosecuting lawyer

As camera flashbulbs went off, a visibly shaken Khan was bundled into a police van and taken to Jodphur Central Jail.

His lawyers say he will appeal against the verdict.

"We will file an appeal on Wednesday," Khan's lawyer, Hastimal Saraswat, said.

"I believe our case is strong on merit," he added.


But the verdict has been welcomed by the local Bishnoi community, which worships the black buck, a protected antelope species, and pressed charges against Khan.

"Now no one can dare to kill innocent animals," Mahipal Bishnoi, the lawyer representing the community, said.

Khan, 40, who has a reputation for reckless behaviour, is one of Bollywood's top actors.

He faces two other court cases relating to a hunting trip in Jodhpur in 1998, when two black bucks were killed.

Last week a court rejected his application to summon a key witness who he claims retracted earlier statements that he had seen Khan killing one of the black bucks.

Several other leading actors have also been charged, including actor Saif Ali Khan and actresses Tabu, Neelam and Sonali Bendre, who are accused of accompanying Salman Khan on the illegal hunting trip.

All have denied wrong-doing and said they will contest the charges.

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