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Slovenia's ex-leader Jansa starts 2-year prison sentence for bribery in Finnish arms deal

Former Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa has gone to prison to serve a two-year sentence for bribery in an arms deal with a Finnish company.

Some 2,000 banner-waving supporters gathered Friday outside the Dob prison, near Ljubljana, the capital, as Jansa went inside. Some of Jansa's followers carried banners, comparing him to South Africa's late president Nelson Mandela.

Jansa served twice as prime minister after Slovenia gained independence in 1991. His center-right Slovenian Democratic Party has been gaining popularity ahead of July 13 early election.

Jansa and two others were convicted last year for accepting an offer of about 2 million euros ($2.7 million) in bribes while in office to help the Finnish firm Patria win a 2006 contract for 135 armored personnel carriers worth 278 million euros ($377 million).

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