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Bosnian imam convicted in sex abuse case

Convicted religious leader blames media campaign

A court in central Bosnia sentenced an imam on Friday to 18 months in jail for sexually abusing a girl during religious classes, the first such conviction of a Muslim religious official in the Balkan country.

Resad Omerhodzic was accused of taking female students to a remote mountainous village and abusing them sexually. A family of one girl filed charges against him.

"This is a conspiracy against me," Omerhodzic said after leaving the courtroom in Travnik flanked by his supporters.

"I was sentenced ... because of a media campaign." His lawyers said they would appeal.

Nobody from the girl's family was available for comment after the verdict.