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Macedonian former interior minister sentenced to 7 years in prison

(Xinhua)

10:18, November 30, 2011

SKOPJE, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- Macedonian former interior minister and former war crime detainee Ljube Boskoski was sentenced on Tuesday to seven years of imprisonment over illegal funding of election campaign.

Skopje court has declared Boskoski guilty of two charges - misuse of his position as head of the political party "United for Macedonia" and for illegal financing of the election campaign in June's elections.

Boskoski was arrested in the Macedonian capital of Skopje in June for allegedly accepting over 100,000 euros (133,000 U.S. dollars) to cover his party's expenses in the campaign of parliamentary elections.

His supporters have claimed the case was controversial from its very beginning, accusing the police of framing Boskoski and putting him in jail because of his fierce critics of the government in his campaign speeches.

Boskoski's family has said that the case was politically motivated and that they would bring the case to international courts.

Boskoski served as the country's interior minister in 2001 and 2002. Later he was arrested and sent to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague over accusations that he committed crime against humanity in the six months conflict that occurred in Macedonia in 2001.

An armed conflict took place in Macedonia between ethnic Albanian insurgents and Macedonian armed forces in 2001. It was brought to an end with a peace deal which promised more rights to the Albanians who account for one quarter of the country's two million population.

Boskoski was released by the ICTY in 2008.

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