9 Muslim Albanians jailed for recruiting for terror groups
Former Albanian prime minister Sali Berisha speaks at Parliament in Tirana, Albania, Thursday April 21, 2016. Berisha, has called on Albanians to arm themselves because the government is failing to confront crime. Gun ownership is illegal in Albania and calls to break the law could result in a 10-year jail sentence. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)
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TIRANA, Albania: An Albanian court has sentenced nine Muslims to jail terms ranging from seven to 18 years for inciting terror, recruiting and sending more than 70 men to join rebel groups in Syria.

The Tirana court on Wednesday said that the men, including three preachers, were convicted of recruiting, training and inciting hatred, mainly in the capital, Tirana, from two mosques that were not recognized by the country’s Muslim community.

Their family members said they will appeal.

About two-thirds of Albania’s 3.2 million residents are Muslims. Mainstream religious leaders have asked their believers not to join rebel groups in Syria. Still, scores of Albanians are believed to have joined Islamic extremist groups in Syria and Iraq.

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