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Bosnian Islamist gets 18 years for US embassy attack

Mevlid Jasarevic, an Islamist who opened fire at the US embassy in Sarajevo last year, was sentenced to 18 years in prison by a Bosnian court

AFP , Thursday 6 Dec 2012
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A Bosnian court on Thursday sentenced an Islamist who opened fire at the US embassy in Sarajevo last year to 18 years in prison.

"Mevlid Jasarevic committed a terrorist act by shooting 105 bullets over 50 minutes towards the American embassy," judge Branko Peric said. "This court sentences him to 18 years in prison."

Jasarevic opened fire on the embassy in October 2011 with an automatic weapon before being shot by police and arrested. One police officer was injured in the attack.

"Jasarevic wanted to express his dissatisfaction with the position of Muslims in Bosnia and the world," the judge said.

The court rejected the charges that Jasarevic had organised a terrorist group but the sentence was the heaviest ever handed out by the Bosnian judiciary on terrorism charges.

The court acquitted his two co-accused, Emrah Fojnica and Munib Ahmetspahic, charged with helping him prepare the October 28 attack and later covering up evidence.

Jasarevic, 23, is a Serbian citizen of Muslim origin who had joined Islamists in Bosnia, in the northeastern village of Gornja Maoca.

The isolated hamlet is considered the headquarters of the Bosnian Wahhabi movement, an ultra-conservative branch of Islam that is dominant in Saudi Arabia. It has been targeted in several police operations in the last few years.

During the trial, that opened in June, the defendants have all pleaded not guilty to the terrorism charges.

In April, Jasarevic was also indicted by a US jury on attempted murder, destruction of property and firearm charges.

Bosnian Muslims, who make up 40 percent of the Balkan country's 3.8 million inhabitants, mostly practise a moderate Islam.

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