An Indian court has sentenced Bollywood superstar Salman Khan to five years in jail for poaching rare antelope back in 1998.
The court in Jodhpur also fined him 10,000 rupees ($154; £109) for the crime. He has since been taken to jail.
Khan killed the two blackbucks, a protected species, in the western state of Rajasthan while shooting a film.
Four other actors who starred with him in the movie and were also charged with the offence have been acquitted.
Khan, 52, can appeal against the verdict in a higher court.
Correspondents say he will have to spend at least a few days in prison.\
What is behind the Salman Khan case?
This is the fourth case filed against the actor in connection with poaching animals during the filming of the 1998 movie Hum Saath Saath Hain.
He has been acquitted in three of them.
In 2006, a trial court convicted the actor in two cases of poaching and sentenced him to five years in prison. The Rajasthan high court suspended the sentence the following year, and eventually acquitted him in 2016.
The state government has appealed against that order in the Supreme Court.
The original poaching case against him was filed by the local Bishnoi community, who revere and worship the blackbuck.
Has he been accused of anything else?
In December 2015, Khan was cleared in a 2002 hit-and-run case in which a homeless man died and four others were in injured. His car allegedly ran over them while they were sleeping on a street in the western city of Mumbai.
A lower court had convicted him in May 2015. During his trial, Khan had argued that his driver had been behind the wheel, but the judge said it was the actor who had been driving under the influence of alcohol.
Seven months later, the high court acquitted him. It said that key evidence – including testimony from a policeman who had since died – was not reliable.
In January 2017, Khan was also acquitted in another case that charged him with using illegal firearms to kill the blackbucks.
How big is Salman Khan?
One of Bollywood’s biggest stars, the actor has appeared in more than 100 films and has a huge fan following across the vast spectrum of Indian society.
His fans include the middle-class English-speaking audiences as well as poor slum dwellers for whom the 350-rupee ($5.20; £3.40) tickets do not come cheap.
Known for his romantic roles as well as action films, Khan has won several prestigious Indian cinema awards.
The eldest of the three sons of well-known screenplay writer Salim Khan, he is a hit on social media too – his Facebook page is liked by more than 36 million fans, while on Twitter he has 32.5 million followers.
What has the reaction been?
Khan’s conviction is making waves on both mainstream and social media.
The hashtag #BlackBuckPoachingCase is the top trend on Twitter India while #Salman Khan is also trending.
Many of the tweets addressed the fact that the case has gone on for years.
Lifespan of blackbuck: 10 to 15 years.
Lifespan of court case when one kills a blackbuck: 20 years.
— Ramesh Srivats (@rameshsrivats) April 5, 2018
Honestly, I am feeling bad for Salman Khan because others were equally culpable and should not have been acquitted. Why should he suffer alone?
And rumour mills say he wasn't the one per se but took blame for all female actors to safeguard them.
— richa singh (@richa_singh) April 5, 2018
Of one thing I am dead sure..@BeingSalmanKhan would NEVER EVER harm any animal. He loves them too much. The real culprit should be exposed. 20 years is too long to bear someone else's cross..
— Simi Garewal (@Simi_Garewal) April 5, 2018
Bollywood superstar Salman Khan has been sentenced to serve five years in prison after being convicted of illegal poaching in a decades-old case, prosecutors said Thursday.
Bhawani Singh, a public prosecutor working on the case, told reporters outside the court that Khan can appeal the decision to a higher court. If Khan’s appeal is accepted, he could be granted bail or have his sentence suspended.
Khan, one of India’s most recognizable and bankable actors, was found guilty of killing two blackbucks, a type of antelope found in the country, while working on a film in the northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan in the 1998. He was also fined 10,000 Indian rupees ($150).
Prosecutors alleged that the 52-year-old shot the two blackbucks while out driving with some of his co-stars.
Khan pleaded not guilty and has long maintained his innocence as the case has languished in legal limbo over the years. Khan’s lawyers said he was carrying an air gun, which cannot be used for hunting an antelope.
The other actors, Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu and Neelam Kothari, were charged with abetting a crime but were acquitted Thursday, Singh said.
Khan has long been known as one of Bollywood’s bad boys and has been in trouble with the law before. In 2015 he was found guilty in a deadly hit in run accident and received a five-year prison sentence. A higher court later tossed the conviction, claiming the evidence presented was not sufficient.
His trial has generated significant media coverage throughout India, with many of the country’s news channels giving his case wall-to-wall coverage.
The son of Indian screenwriter Salim Khan, Salman Khan made his movie debut in 1988, and his career took off shortly after.
Today he’s considered one of India’s biggest celebrities — to the point where he’s often mobbed whenever seen in public — and despite his brushes with the law, is still one of Bollywood’s biggest draws.
Khan has more than 32 million followers on Twitter and another 15.3 million on Instagram.
Forbes ranked him 71st in their list of the world’s highest paid celebrities and the ninth-highestpaid actor, estimating he raked in $37 million in 2017. Fellow Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, at number 8 on the list, is the only Indian actor to have earned more than him last year.