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Postal crime of the century goes back to court

Switzerland's "postal robbery of the century" is back in court following an appeal by the cantonal prosecutor's office in Zurich. It says the sentences handed down last November to seven of the defendants were "too lenient".

Prosecutors had sought jail sentences of between five and eight years for the 1997 robbery, in which SFr53 million was stolen. However, the court handed down sentences ranging from 21 months to 5 years.

Three of the jailed men are from Italy, three are Lebanese and one is Swiss. The heaviest sentence was handed out to a former post office employee who planned the holdup.

The robbers posed as postal workers, using false identification papers and a delivery van with stolen post office license plates to pass a security gate at the Fraumünster post office.

They held postal workers at bay with guns and stuffed the van with containers of cash from a loading dock, then drove off. A little less than half of the money has since been recovered.

swissinfo with agencies