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Postal robbers given longer sentences

Marcello (right), considered as the mastermind of the operation, gets the heaviest sentence.

(Keystone)

A court in Zurich has handed down heavier prison sentences to six of the seven defendants involved in what has been called Switzerland's "postal robbery of the century".

The ruling followed an appeal by the cantonal prosecutor's office, which claimed the sentences ranging from 21 months to five years were too lenient.

The high court added between six months and a year to the defendants' terms. Three of the men are from Italy, three are Lebanese and one is Swiss. The heaviest sentence - six and a half years - went to the former post office employee whose insider knowledge of the Fraumünster post office in Zurich was key to carrying out the crime.

The robbery in 1997 was elaborately planned. The robbers posed as postal workers, using false identification papers and a delivery van with stolen post office licence plates to gain access to the post office.

They held postal workers at bay with guns and stuffed the van with containers of cash from a loading dock, before driving off.

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