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failed attack Sender of unexploded Zurich bomb gets ten years

The Swiss-Macedonian man behind the 2002 failed bomb attack on the offices of a Kosovar newspaper in Zurich has been sentenced to ten years in prison.

Xhevdet Mazrekj, the editor of Bota Sot in the Zurich office in 2001.

(Keystone)

The man, who has not been named, sent a package containing a grenade to the offices of Bota Sotexternal link, an Albanian-language newspaper writing about Kosovo affairs from Zurich. The bomb failed to explode, avoiding any casualties.

However, on Tuesday, judges at the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona did not believe the man’s assertion that he acted under the impression that the bomb did not work, and that he only wanted to scare the journalists.

On top of his ten-year sentence (prosecutors had asked for 11) for attempted assassination, the man must pay CHF15,000 ($15,466) to three Bota Sot editorial staff for moral injuries. He also takes on court costs to the tune of CHF75,000.

‘A lesson’

According to the defendant, he simply wanted to “teach a lesson” to the staff of the newspaper, which published incriminating material about civilians attempting to flee the Kosovo war in the late 1990s.

Following a series of fortunate coincidences, which saw the package eventually being opened at the home of the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, the grenade inside failed to detonate.

It was only 15 years after the events that the perpetrator was finally apprehended by Swiss police, following a fight in a Zurich nightclub. Having been detained in January 2017, his DNA samples threw light on his connection to the bombing.

The verdict is not definitive; an appeal can still be launched in the Federal Court.


swissinfo.ch and agencies/dos

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