BEIRUT – A Lebanese former minister convicted last year of smuggling explosives and planning attacks had his jail sentence increased to nine years and nine months in court on Friday after a retrial. Former information minister Michel Samaha, who has close ties to Bashar al-Assad, was detained in August 2012 and sentenced to four and a half years. He was freed on bail in January pending a retrial, confessed to the charges before the first sentence was handed down, and gave details of a plot allegedly devised with Syria’s security chief Ali Malmuk. The court set the longer sentence at 13 years, but in Lebanon a prison year is equivalent to nine months. Then Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi had described the shorter sentence as a travesty of justice.