Menace of Islamic terror continues to grow in the former Yugoslavia
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina-Four men convicted in Bosnia in January of plotting to blow up an unidentified European target have had their prison sentences sharply reduced, the State Court said Monday.
Prosecutors said the four men, two Bosnians, a Swede and a Turkish citizen, had been preparing to launch a terror attack against a European country to force the pullout of foreign troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. The target of the plot remains unclear.
When police raided a Sarajevo apartment in 2005, they found a "suicide belt" rigged with a powerful homemade explosive device, pistols, ammunition and a videotape outlining how to build a bomb.
In reaching its decision last week, the State Court's appeals panel took into account the defendants' ages and their lack of a criminal record and agreed that their actions did not justify such severe sentences, according to the ruling, which was signed by Judge Manfred Dauster.
The original sentences, the maximum allowed under the law, had been set without consideration of any mitigating circumstances, the ruling said.
The sentence of Mirsad Bektasevic, 20, a Swedish citizen was reduced to eight years and four months from 15 years. The 13-year sentence of Abdulkadir Cesur, 19, a Turk who had been living in Denmark, was reduced to six years and six months.
The sentence of Bosnian Bajro Ikanovic, 31, who was convicted of supplying the explosives, was cut in half to four years from eight years, and the sentence of Senad Hasanovic, 21, also a Bosnian, who was convicted of illegal possession of weapons and explosives, was reduced to six months from 2 1/2 years.
A fifth suspect, Bosnian Amir Bajric, pleaded guilty and was sentenced in July to two years in prison for helping the group to buy explosives.