A Macedonian court has convicted 17 people in Macedonia's first espionage trial since the country proclaimed independence from Yugoslavia in 1991.

Eight of the defendants were convicted Monday of espionage. The others were found guilty of charges including criminal association, blackmail and fraud in a case in which the group were accused of passing classified documents to the security services of an unspecified country.

Much of the trial was held behind closed doors and the defendants were not officially identified. A police official said they included employees of the intelligence agency, anti-money laundering agency, defense ministry and financial crimes police. Sentences ranged from probation to 15 years' imprisonment. All are to appeal.

The official spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to confirm the defendants' professions.