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Bosnian Court Sentences Former Defense Official

1 October 2004 -- A Bosnian court announced today that a former defense minister for the Muslim-Croat half of Bosnia has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Miroslav Prce was sentenced yesterday. He was implicated in a major corruption scandal and pleaded guilty to four counts in the case involving a local bank.

As defense minister, Prce approved $2.5 million worth of long-term low-interest credits to unidentified individuals, as well as the payment of nearly $2 million in insurance policies to members of his ruling political party, the Croat defense Council.

Prce and five others, including the former Croat member of Bosnia's Presidency, Ante Jelavic, were charged earlier this month with unconstitutional activities.

The trial of Jelavic and others accused in the affair will continue on 14 October.