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Court Sentences Pancic's Attackers, Barely

Serbia - Teofil Pancic, Serbian journalist, undated
Serbia - Teofil Pancic, Serbian journalist, undated
The municipal court in Belgrade this week found two persons guilty of attacking RFE/RL columnist Teofil Pancic in July and sentenced them to three months in prison.

According to Serbian law, the sentence for a violent attack ranges from six months to five years imprisonment. In this case the court punished them with half the minimum sentence.

Miloš Mladenović and Danilo Žuža attacked Pancic with a metal bar on a bus in Belgrade on July 24. Pancic was beaten and suffered a concussion and body injuries. Pancic, who called the incident "a targeted attack," told RFE/RL that he suspects the two men followed him before beating him on the packed bus.

"I do not understand that the court declared them guilty, but reduced the sentence to half of the minimum time for that type of violence,", Pancic told RFE/RL after the ruling was announced.

The state prosecutor said that he will appeal the sentence.

Pancic, 45, is a highly regarded Serbian journalist known for his uncompromising stance against runaway nationalism and sports hooliganism. Aside from his work for RFE/RL and "Vreme," Pancic has written for a number of newspaper and other publications in the Balkans and elsewhere.

RFE/RL's Balkans Service contributed to this report.