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article imageSerbian court issues suspended sentences over US embassy fire

By AFP     Nov 14, 2017 in World

A Serbian court handed suspended jail sentences to four men on Tuesday for their involvement in setting fire to the US embassy in Belgrade nearly a decade ago.

The violence broke out in February 2008 during mass protests against Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia, which had been announced three days earlier in Pristina.

Belgrade still rejects the declaration of its former province, whose population is predominantly ethnic Albanian, although Kosovo's independence has since been recognised by more than 110 countries.

Found guilty of "serious acts against general security", three of the men were given six-month suspended sentences and the fourth received five months. Three others were acquitted.

Their verdicts were the result of a retrial ordered due to irregularities in the initial process.

The blaze was set off by rioters, who were angered by Western countries' support for Kosovo's independence, during a mass rally organised by the then nationalist Serbian government.

Dozens were injured in the violence which included attacks on several other embassies, including those of Belgium, Britain and Germany, as well as widespread looting.

In July, five police officers were charged over failing to prevent the attack.

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