Albanian appeals court reduces jail sentences over munitions factory blast that killed 26

An Albanian appeals court has reduced sentences for the chief defendants — including the country's fugitive former army chief of staff — convicted over a huge ammunition factory blast that killed 26 people.

The Tirana court on Wednesday also acquitted a former army general initially sentenced to four years in prison, which he served under house arrest.

Factory owner Mihal Delijorgji and manager Dritan Minxolli had their terms reduced from 10 to six-and-a-half years and from 18 to 12 years, respectively. Former Defense Ministry official Ylli Pinari's sentence was reduced from 18 to 15 years.

Former army chief of staff Luan Hoxha, who has fled to the United States, had his term lowered from six to five years.

The accident near Tirana in March 2008 destroyed or damaged 5,500 houses.