CEOL
12 Kosovo Albanians sentenced for terrorism by Serbian Court

BELGRADE, Jun 22, 2000 -- (AFP) A group of 12 Kosovo Albanians, accused of terrorism, were sentenced Wednesday each to 23-months in prison by a Serbian court in the eastern Serbian town of Pozarevac, the independent news agency Beta reported.

However, the 12 were immediately released since they had already spent the same period of time in detention, the agency said.

The Albanians were previously sentenced to 14 years in prison each, but the Serbian Supreme court revoked the verdict following defiance's appeal.

The trial was the latest in a series of similar ones since more than 2,000 Kosovo Albanians had been transferred to Serbian prisons during Belgrade forces' withdrawal from the province last June.

Some 400 ethnic Albanians have received heavy prison sentences in trials criticized by international human rights groups, while about 500 have been released so far.

Serbian Justice Minister Dragoljub Jankovic said last in April that 979 prisoners brought from Kosovo were still being held in Serbian prisons.

All but 15 or 20 of them were ethnic Albanians, he said.



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