A German court has convicted a former top spy in Yugoslavia's secret service and his one-time subordinate of involvement in the 1983 killing of a Communist-era dissident, and sentenced them to life in prison.

Zdravko Mustac and former subordinate Josip Perkovic, who later created independent Croatia's spy agency, went on trial in Munich in October 2014 — months after they were extradited from Croatia.

News agency dpa reported that the Munich state court convicted the two men Wednesday of complicity in the murder of Stjepan Djurekovic. The dissident was shot and beaten on July 28, 1983, in a garage in Wolfratshausen, near Munich, and the defendants were accused of ordering and planning the killing.

The defense had sought the two men's acquittal, citing a lack of evidence.