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TERRORISM

10 years for war crimes sentence in Linz

An Austrian court sentenced Wednesday a Bosnian Muslim man to 10 years in jail over the massacre of 16 civilians in a Serb village during the bloody 1992-5 Bosnian war.

10 years for war crimes sentence in Linz
Regional Court, Linz. Photo: Johannes Auer/Picasa

The 48-year-old man, who now has Austrian citizenship, was accused of attacking the village of Serdari as part of a large group of Bosnian Muslims in September 1992.

They killed seven men, seven women and two children and set fire to six houses, apparently in revenge for Serb attacks, according to the charge sheet.

The defendant, who was not named, denied the charges but was found guilty of 16 counts of murder, three of attempted murder and arson.

The court in Linz heard from around 30 witnesses including two female survivors and a resident from a nearby village.

In 2014, a court in Sarajevo jailed four men over the Serdari killings, but their convictions were quashed the following year, the Austria Press Agency (APA) reported.

A new trial jailed one of them for 11 years and acquitted two while the fourth has since died, APA said.

The 1992-1995 inter-ethnic war in Bosnia left some 100,000 dead and displaced about two million people, almost half of the country's pre-war population.

The conflict was part of several wars fought inside the former Yugoslavia until 2001, which would eventually lead to the breakup of the country.

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CRIME

Case dropped against second Swiss man over Vienna attack ‘links’

Swiss prosecutors said Thursday they had dropped the case against a second Swiss man over alleged links to a deadly shooting rampage in Vienna due to a lack of evidence.

Armed police officers stand guard before the arrival of Austrian Chancellor Kurz and President of the European Council to pay respects to the victims of the recent terrorist attack in Vienna, Austria on November 9,2020. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)
Armed police officers stand guard before the arrival of Austrian Chancellor Kurz and President of the European Council to pay respects to the victims of the recent terrorist attack in Vienna, Austria on November 9,2020. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG), which last month decided to drop the case against one suspect, told AFP it had issued a discontinuation order in the case against a second man.

On November 2, 2020, convicted Islamic State sympathiser Kujtim Fejzulai killed four people in Vienna before being shot dead by police.

It was the first major attack in Austria in decades and the first blamed on a jihadist.

Two Swiss citizens who knew Fejzulai were arrested in the northeastern Swiss town of Winterthur just a day after the attack on suspicion they may have helped in its preparation.

‘How was it possible?’ Austrians left asking painful questions after Vienna terror shootings

The two, who were aged 18 and 24 at the time, were known to the police and were the targets of prior criminal cases over terror-linked offences.

The OAG acknowledged Thursday that no evidence had emerged that either man had participated in any way or had prior knowledge of the attack.

The older of the two men was meanwhile hit with a penalty in a separate case with no links to the Vienna file, the OAG said.

The penalty order, seen by Swiss media, indicated that he had been found guilty of violating Switzerland’s law banning Al-Qaeda, Islamic State and related organisations and of being in possession of “depictions of violence”.

According to the ATS news agency, an IS group video was found on his phone depicting people being executed and decapitated.

He was handed a six-month suspended prison sentence, a fine of 1,000 Swiss francs ($1,100, 950 euros), and three years’ probation, ATS said.

ANALYSIS: Vienna terror attack was ‘only a matter of time’

In light of this penalty, he would not be compensated for the 176 days he spent behind bars after his arrest following the Vienna attack, it added.

The OAG said a separate case was still pending against the younger of the two men, also on suspicion he breached the Swiss law banning Al-Qaeda, IS and related organisations, and over “allegations of depictions of violence”. “The presumption of innocence applies,” it stressed.

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