An Argentine court on Thursday sentenced former President Carlos Menem to seven years in prison for illegal foreign arms sales during his 1989-1999 tenure.

Menem, who is a senator, can appeal to the Supreme Court.

The judges asked the Senate to revoke Menem's legislative immunity.

Menem was not in court to hear the sentence due to "problems with high-blood pressure and diabetes," his defense attorney said in a statement.

The 82-year-old former president and several co-defendants were convicted March 8 by Argentina's top criminal appellate panel, which overturned Menem's 2011 acquittal and ordered the original trial court to pass sentence.

Menem's former defense minister, Oscar Camilion, was sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison in the same case.

Members of the Argentine government conspired to send weapons to Croatia between 1991 and 1995, in violation of a U.N. embargo against arms sales to belligerents in the Balkan conflict.

The conspirators also sold arms to Ecuador in 1995, when that country was engaged in an undeclared war with Peru over a border dispute, and despite the fact that Argentina - as one of several nations mediating the dispute - was expressly banned from selling weapons to either party.

Menem was first prosecuted for the arms deals in 2001, but a Supreme Court that was still packed with judges he had appointed threw out the charges. EFE