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Serbian Court Convicts Ethnic Albanians Of Terrorism

11 February 2005 -- A court in southern Serbia today convicted nine ethnic Albanians on terrorism charges.

The court in the town of Vranje found them guilty of murdering in 2002 an ethnic Albanian who had joined Serbian police.

The nine were also found guilty of planting a nail bomb in late 2003 in a school in the tense area known as Presevo Valley.

Two of the nine were sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison each. The rest of the accused were sentenced to between 16 months and seven years in prison.

A local ethnic Albanian insurgency in the Presevo Valley, which is adjacent to Kosovo, was defused in 2001 through a Western-backed peace deal, but scattered violence continued nevertheless.