Albania court jails former imam in absentia for terrorism

An Albanian court has sentenced in absentia a former Muslim imam accused of terrorism charges including recruiting and sending men to fight with rebel groups in Syria.

The Serious Crime Court on Thursday ordered 15 years in prison for Almir Daci, who has been imam at Leshnice village, Pogradec district, 140 kilometers (87 miles) east of the capital Tirana.

Daci, who is believed to be fighting with rebels in Syria, has recruited some 25 men in eastern Albania.

About two-thirds of Albania's three million people are Muslims. Despite calls from mainstream religious leaders not to join rebel groups in Syria and Iraq, scores of Albanians are believed to have joined Islamic extremist groups there.