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Bosnian US embassy attacker gets 15-year jail term


A Bosnian court on Wednesday sentenced, in a retrial, a Muslim who attacked the US embassy in Sarajevo in 2011 to 15 years in prison for a "terrorism act".

"The court has decided that Mevlid Jasarevic committed a terrorist act... thus committing a criminal act of terrorism," judge Hilmo Vucinic said.

"This court sentences him to 15 years in prison."

Jasarevic, who bent his head as he listened to the verdict being read out, fired 105 bullets at the US embassy in Sarajevo in October 2011 with an automatic weapon for almost an hour before being shot by police.

One police officer was injured in the attack.

In December 2012, Jasarevic was sentenced to 18 years in jail for the same charge of a "terrorism act".

But the verdict was annulled due to a failure to respect his legal rights and a retrial opened in September.

The judge said the court "took into consideration his remorse" as Jasarevic had claimed he was a "victim of those who were telling me it was necessary to fight for Islam, to lead jihad".

"The court however wanted to show the international community that Bosnia is determined in its fight against terrorism and protection of its citizens," he said.

Originally from Serbia, Jasarevic had joined a group of Islamists in Gornja Maoca, a hamlet in northeastern Bosnia considered the headquarters of the Bosnian Wahhabi movement, the ultra-conservative branch of Islam that dominates in Saudi Arabia.

The movement has been targeted in several police operations in the last few years.

During Bosnia's 1992-1995 ethnic war between Croats, Muslims and Serbs, a large number of volunteers from Muslim nations flocked to the Balkan country to take up arms.

Many of them stayed on after the war and obtained Bosnian citizenship.

Bosnia's Muslims, who make up 40 percent of the Balkan country's 3.8 million inhabitants, mostly practise a moderate form of the religion.

According to security estimates, the Wahhabi movement counts 3,000 members.