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Illustrative image Image Credit: Supplied

LOS ANGELES: A US man who groped a sleeping passenger on a plane was jailed Thursday for nearly two years.

Mohammad Jawad Ansari, 50, put his hand on the inner thigh of a woman as she slept in the middle seat of a flight from Cleveland to Los Angeles in February 2020.

The victim, who was wearing a dress, woke up and pushed Ansari's hand away before leaving her seat and telling cabin crew about the assault, officials said.

Ansari, who had denied the charge of abusive sexual contact, was found guilty after a four-day trial in May, the Department of Justice said.

Ansari's "groping left (his victim) shocked and afraid, and witnesses testified that she sobbed for the remainder of the flight," a prosecutor told a court in Los Angeles.

On flights, the victim "now struggles to fall asleep because she is constantly concerned about 'what if someone touches me.'"

US District Judge Fernando Aenlle-Rocha jailed Ansari for 21 months and ordered him to pay over $40,000.