Saturday, June 07, 2008

Kosovo: Ethnic Albanian jailed for 40 years for Serbian bus attack

Pristina, 6 June (AKI) - An international panel of judges has sentenced a Kosovo Albanian to 40 years in prison for blowing up a Serbian bus that killed 11 people and injured ten others in 2001.

Florim Ejupi was charged with planting and detonating explosives under a bridge near the northern Kosovar town of Podujevo. The blast blew up a bus belonging to the Serbian company Nis Express.

Ejupi denied the charges and will be able to appeal the sentence before Kosovo's Supreme Court in two weeks.

Kosovo, where ethnic Albanians outnumber Serbs by 17 to one, has been under United Nations control since 1999 when NATO forced out Serbian troops from the troubled province.

NATO began its airstrikes against Serbia on 24 March 1999, to stop what it called a “humanitarian catastrophe” and mass exodus of ethnic Albanians, accusing Serbian army and police of using excessive force in suppressing an ethnic Albanian rebellion.

Ethnic Albanians declared independence last February, but Serbia is fighting a diplomatic battle with the help of its ally Russia, to retain Kosovo under its control.

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