Sentence cut for Bosnian who attacked US embassy

By Aida Cerkez, Associated Press | Posted - Nov. 20, 2013 at 9:57 a.m.



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SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) - A Bosnian court on Wednesday reduced the 18-year-prison sentence of a man who shot at the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo to 15 years, saying it believed he regrets the crime.

Mevlid Jasarevic was found guilty of terrorism last year for the 2011 automatic rifle shooting, in which he shot at the embassy for 50 minutes with an automatic rifle, injuring a policeman before authorities shot him in the leg and arrested him. He appealed the verdict, arguing he had been brainwashed by radical Islamist mentors and was sorry for his "stupid" act.

Appeals judges at Bosnia's war crimes court said they believe the 25-year-old regrets what he did, but that he still committed an act of terrorism.

Jasarevic had said he hoped to be killed by police, and wanted to put pressure on Western governments to pull soldiers out of Afghanistan and Iraq. He was a member of a radical Islamist Wahhabi sect, an austere brand of Sunni Islam.

During his first trial, he wore a Wahhabi robe and a long beard and refused to recognize the authority of the court. But during re-trial, Jasarevic cooperated with his defense and shaved his beard.

In closing arguments last week, he said he woke up in prison and regretted his "tragic, dangerous, incredibly sad and stupid act."

He said he realized in jail that those who were preaching jihad to him were now "sitting home with their wives and children ... while I can see my son only every two or three months."

"I wish I had worried more about my wife and child than about Afghanistan, which I can't even find on the map," he said.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Aida Cerkez

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