January 22, 2020 / 1:26 PM / a month ago

Kosovo jails eight over plot to kill president and prime minister

FILE PHOTO: Kosovo President Hashim Thaci gives an interview to Reuters in Berlin, Germany, April 29, 2019. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/File Photo

PRISTINA (Reuters) - A Kosovo court jailed eight men on Wednesday for the attempted murder of a former politician and plotting to kill the Balkan country’s president and prime minister in 2017.

The eight received jail terms ranging from two to 12 years and were part of an organization known as People’s Eye which President Hashim Thaci and the court have described as a terrorist organization.

One of the eight, Murat Jashari, received a 10-year sentence for shooting at and wounding former politician and prominent lawyer Azem Vllasi on the doorstep of his house in March 2017.

The court said Vllasi was the first victim on a list of potential targets that included Thaci and Isa Mustafa, who was prime minister at the time.

“Their aim was to seriously destabilize or destroy the political, economic, constitutional or social structures of the Republic of Kosovo,” presiding judge Naime Krasniqi Jashanica said in the verdict.

The group had also put religious leaders, businessmen and journalists on the list of people it wanted to kill, the court said.

The defendants’ lawyers said they would appeal the case.

Reporting by Fatos Bytyci, Editing by Timothy Heritage

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