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8 ethnic Albanians convicted in Kosovo of terrorism charges

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — A Kosovo court on Wednesday convicted eight ethnic Albanian men of preparing terrorist acts and trying to destabilize the country's constitutional order. The court in the capital city of Pristina handed out prison terms ranging from two to 12 years to eight members of the so-called People’s Eye group, which, according to Judge Naime Krasniqi Jashanica, wanted to destabilize and destroy Kosovo's fundamental political, economic and constitutional structures.

The convicted men will appeal their sentences. Three years ago, the ethnic Albanian men carried out an assassination attempt against a former communist leader and lawyer, Azem Vllasi, who was shot and injured.

Murat Jashari, who was convicted of trying to kill Vllasi, will be imprisoned for 10 years. The group had also threatened to kill top officials they considered to be traitors. Kosovo’s 1998-99 war, which claimed more than 10,000 lives and left over 1 million people homeless, ended after a 78-day NATO air campaign against Serbia’s then-leader Slobodan Milosevic.

Kosovo's 2008 independence has been recognized by about 100 countries, but not by Serbia.

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