Three radical Islamists jailed in Bosnia over terrorism
(SARAJEVO) - A Bosnian court on Thursday sentenced three radical Islamists to up to four and half years in prison for preparing a terrorist attack against members of EU forces here and the local Christian community.
"Rijad Rustempasic, Abdulah Handzic and Edis Velic were found guilty of being members of an organised group that acted with the aim of commiting a terrorist act on the territory of Bosnia-Hercegovina," judge Mirsad Strika said.
The terror attack would have "destabilised the country's political structures and intimidated the population," he added.
Rustempasic, the leader of the group, was sentenced to four and a half years in jail. Handzic and Velic were jailed to three and four years respectively.
"They acted out of a position of extremism and ethnic and religious radicalism," the judge said.
"They believed it was necessary to set up an Islamic state in Bosnia by force. These are unconstitutional intentions as Bosnia is a secular and democratic country," he added.
The three, all in their 30s, met each other between 2007 and 2009 in Sarajevo and in the central region of Bugojno.
According to the judgement they discussed targetting the local Croat and Serb communities, catholic and orthodox christians respectively, and members of EUFOR deployed in the region of Bugojno, the same source said.
A large amount of arms, explosive devices and military equipment were seized during the search in 2009.
The Muslim community in Bosnia is essentially moderate but a small number of believers have adopted the doctrine and way of life inspired by the radical Wahhabi movement, brought to the country during the 1992-1995 inter-ethnic war by foreign Islamist fighters who came to fight along with Bosnia's Muslims.
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