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Friday, 10 May, 2002, 21:15 GMT 22:15 UK
German guilty of Pristina bomb attack
Pristina resident
Residents had to be evacuated after the 2001 bombing
A court in Kosovo has sentenced a German national to 23 years in prison after finding him guilty on charges of murder and terrorism.

Pristina car bomb wreckage
The bomb had been placed in a parked car and packed with metal fragments

The man, Roland Bartetzko, was accused of masterminding a bomb attack last year in the centre of the Kosovan capital, Pristina. One person was killed and four others injured in the blast.

Bartetzko - who fought with ethnic-Albanian rebels against Yugoslav forces in 1999 - is the first westerner to be tried for murder in postwar-Kosovo.

The high-profile case was heard by an international panel of three judges.

Terrorism

"Bartetzko was sentenced for murder, four acts of attempted murder and terrorism," Andrea Angeli, a spokesman for the United Nations mission in Kosovo said.

Bartetzko, 31, pleaded not guilty to the charges when the trial opened in February.

"I did not plan the bombing," the fighter for the now disbanded Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) told the court.

He was arrested by UN police several days after the explosion, which took place as a group of Serbs were leaving the offices of the Yugoslav representation in Pristina.

The bomb - placed in a parked car - was packed with explosives and metal fragments.

Motorist Aleksandar Petrovic was killed in the blast and four others were injured.

Serbs targeted

The prosecution claimed that the bombing was a "revenge" attack" that stemmed from Bartetzko's hatred of Serbs.

Serbs living in Kosovo have been targeted several times in attacks by majority Albanians angered by years of repression under Slobodan Milosevic's regime.

Several other killings of Serbs - including a bomb attack in February last year that killed at least 10 people - are still unsolved.

Kosovo has remained a UN protectorate since 1999, when Nato bombed the province to drive out Serbian forces.

See also:

18 Apr 01 | Europe
Kosovo capital hit by bomb blast
17 Feb 01 | Europe
Kosovo on alert after bomb attack
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