Serbian fan gets 10 years for attempted murder
BELGRADE (Reuters) - A Red Star Belgrade fan who used a flare to attack a policeman during a Serbian first division match last December was sentenced to 10 years in jail on Friday, the Belgrade-based Beta news agency reported.
Uros Misic, 20, assaulted a plain-clothes police officer during Red Star's home game with Hajduk Kula and was tried for attempted murder by the Belgrade District Court.
He inflicted multiple burns on Nebojsa Trajkovic and then tried to force it into his throat, after which the policeman fired gunshots into the air in self-defence.
"It was a barbaric, brutal and monstrous attack on a policeman on duty and the authorities have the right to defend themselves when attacked," judge Velimir Lazovic said after the judicial council passed the verdict.
"The assault was also completely unprovoked and it had to be qualified as attempted murder because Trajkovic was fighting for his life out there," he said.
"The punishment is fitting and it is a message that there will be zero tolerance for such acts."
Two other fans involved in the incident were convicted of violent assault earlier this month. Milos Zimonja was sentenced to one year and eight months and Slavisa Drakul to one year in jail.
"This kind of violence has become an epidemic and the legal bodies have to respond appropriately because common citizens can expect no protection if we allow villains to carry out bestial acts against the police," judge Lazovic said.
Serbian soccer has been rife with violence in the past 15 years but similar acts had often gone unpunished even after bloody conflicts between rival fans resulted in deaths.
The country's soccer federation and the authorities had appeared powerless to consistently implement a strict law providing long prison terms for the offenders.
That changed after the horrific scenes from Red Star's ground were televised and prompted the federation to ask the government to take a tougher stance on hooliganism.
(Editing by Trevor Huggins)
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