EUROPE

Serbian court convicts 4 men of burning US embassy

Seven defendants had been accused of attacking US embassy in Belgrade during 2008 Kosovo independence protests

Anadolu Agency

A Serbian court has passed verdicts on seven defendants charged with burning part of the U.S. embassy in Belgrade during 2008 protests over Kosovan independence.

The High Court on Tuesday convicted four people of causing danger to life and property. Three remaining defendants were released due to a lack of evidence.

Three men -- Dejan Vuckovic, Dragan Marinkov and Marko Novitovic -- each received a six-month suspended sentence to be followed by a two-year probation period.

Milan Tomas was sentenced to five months suspended to be followed by two years’ probation.

All the accused had denied the charges.

Thousands of Serbs gathered in the streets of Belgrade in 2008 in opposition to Kosovo’s declaration of independence.

Angry demonstrators attacked the U.S. embassy and set part of it ablaze because of American support for breakaway Kosovo, a former Serb province.

The U.S. was also among the first countries to recognize Kosovo as a state. Turkey also recognizes Kosovo.

Kosovo is home to nearly 1.8 million people, over 90 percent of whom are Kosovar Albanians.

Serbia, Russia and China are among countries that have not yet recognized Kosovo’s independence.

+