Sarajevo, Dec 7 (IANS/RIA Novosti) A Bosnian court has sentenced a gunman who opened fire on the US embassy in Bosnia in October last year to 18 years in prison.
The trial against Mevlid Jasarevic and two accomplices - Emrah Fojnica and Munib Ahmetspahic - started in June. All three defendants have pleaded not guilty.
Judge Branko Peric said Thursday that Jasarevic's sentence was the harshest the court has ever given for terrorism and should serve as a warning.
The court, though, acquitted Jasarevic's accomplices due to lack of evidence proving their direct involvement in the attack.
According to Bosnian prosecutors, the defendants formed a terrorist group in the northeastern village of Gornja Maoca, home to adherents of the ultra-conservative Wahhabi branch of Islam, with the goal "to improve the status of their community through violence and terrorist activities against state institutions and foreign diplomatic missions".
On Oct 28, 2011, Jasarevic, 24, spent about 50 minutes firing on the US embassy in downtown Sarajevo from a Kalashnikov assault rifle, striking the building with 105 bullets.
A security guard was seriously wounded in the attack, before Jasarevic was wounded by a police sniper in front of the embassy, and arrested.
The attack raised fears over the threat from radical Islam in the Balkans, where Muslims constitute 40 percent of the Bosnian population.
Jasarevic insisted during the trial that his attack targeted US soldiers who "murdered innocent Muslims during the war in Iraq".
The attacker has been indicted in the US on attempted murder, assault with deadly weapon, and destruction of property charges. He faces up to 100 years in jail if convicted by a US court.