Kosovo Albanian gets 40 years for Serb bus bombing
PRISTINA, June 6 (Reuters) - An ethnic Albanian man was sentenced on Friday to 40 years in prison for a 2001 bus bombing that killed 11 Serbs in one of Kosovo's worst single attacks since its 1998-99 war.
Florim Ejupi was convicted of planting and detonating a bomb that destroyed a bus carrying Serb pilgrims heading to the monastery town of Gracanica, minutes after the convoy entered Kosovo from Serbia proper.
"A massive explosion hit the first bus of the convoy carrying 57 ethnic Serb passengers," the U.N. mission administering Kosovo since the war said in a statement. "The bombing killed 11 civilians of Serbian ethnicity and injured 22 others."
Ejupi was convicted of 11 counts of murder and dozens of counts of attempted murder, as well as terrorism, causing general danger, racial and other discrimination and unlawful possession of explosives.
The sentence was handed down by a panel of three international judges.
The bombing was one of the worst in a spate of revenge attacks on minority Serbs after NATO bombs drove out Serb forces to halt the killing and ethnic cleansing of ethnic Albanians in a two-year war against separatist guerrillas.
Ejupi was arrested but escaped from the fortress-like U.S. military base Bondsteel in Kosovo in April 2001. He was re-arrested in Albania in 2004.
Ejupi is also charged with the killing of a U.N. police officer and his ethnic Albanian colleague in 2004.
Kosovo, where 90 percent of the 2 million people are ethnic Albanians, declared independence from Serbia in February, with the backing of the West.
(Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; editing by Matt Robinson and Mark Trevelyan)
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