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Serbian court hands down four year sentence to killer of Swiss teacher

A Serb who killed a Swiss teacher in canton St Gallen in 1999 has received a four-year jail sentence in Serbia. The Swiss authorities say they are surprised by the light sentence.

The Swiss embassy in Belgrade announced on Friday that Ded Gecaj had been sentenced in his absence to four years by a Serbian court last December.

The court ruled that Gecaj could only be held partially culpable for the killing of Paul Spirig, on the basis of several psychiatric evaluations.

Gecaj shot his daughter's teacher on January 11, 1999, and has been on the run ever since. He is also accused of sexually abusing and threatening his daughter.

The killing was said to be connected to the child's attendance record at school.

The court also sentenced Gecaj's wife to two-and-a-half years in prison for acting as an accomplice to her husband. She was expelled from Switzerland to Kosovo in September 1999.

Gecaj remains the subject of a Swiss international arrest warrant. St-Gallen's district attorney, Markus Rohrer, says he can pursue Gecaj in the courts if he ever returns to Switzerland, or if he is extradited by another country.

swissinfo with agencies


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