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Prosecution demands prison terms for postal robbers

A Zurich district prosecutor Tuesday demanded prison sentences of between five and eight years for the defendants in the “postal robbery of the century” trial.

This content was published on October 19, 1999 - 10:24

A Zurich district prosecutor Tuesday demanded prison sentences of between five and eight years for the defendants in the “postal robbery of the century” trial.

Prosecutor Rolf Jäger said that seven of those accused should be sent to prison, while the eighth defendant should be sent to a special correctional institution.

The maximum sentence Jäger could have asked for in the case is ten years.

The eight people went on trial in the Zurich district court (picture) under heavy security Monday for their role in the 1997 hold-up of a post office in the heart of Zurich's banking district.

Seven of the eight are accused of complicity in the 1997 robbery, in which SFr53 million (then $37 million) was stolen, and appeared handcuffed in the district court. The eighth is charged with aiding and abetting the robbery, receiving stolen goods and money laundering.

The trial is expected to last until Wednesday. The verdict will be handed down at a later date.

The five robbers posed as postal workers, using fake identification papers and a delivery van with stolen post office license plates, to pass a security gate. The two other main defendants are accused of helping to plan the robbery.

They held postal workers at bay with guns and stuffed the van with containers of cash from a loading dock, then drove off -- leaving SFr17 million (some $12 million) behind because they ran out of space. A little less than half of the money has since been recovered.

A total of 19 people in five countries were arrested in connection with the robbery. Two of the alleged ringleaders were extradited from the United States and Spain earlier this year.

From staff and wire reports.

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