LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) -- A court in Slovenia has sentenced former Prime Minister Janez Jansa to two years in prison for seeking bribes from a Finnish arms dealer — the highest-ranking politician convicted of corruption in the crisis-stricken EU nation.
The District Court in Ljubljana ruled Wednesday that Jansa and two others sought about 2 million euros ($2.6 million) in bribes while in office to help Finnish firm Patria win a 2006 contract for 135 armored personnel carriers worth 278 million euros ($364 million).
"This is a staged process, a shame for our state," Jansa said, reiterating earlier allegations that the case against him was politically motivated and orchestrated by his political opponents. "This verdict had been written in advance, by well-known authors."
Jansa said he would appeal the conviction to a higher court.
Several hundred flag-waving Jansa supporters rallied Wednesday outside the court to protest the ruling. His followers also flooded social media with postings in his defense.
The court sentenced the men who were tried with Jansa to 22 months in prison and ordered all three to pay 37,000 euros ($48,400) each in fines.
Jansa, the leader of the opposition Slovenian Democratic Party, has served twice as prime minister since the country became independent in 1991. His center-right government was ousted in a parliamentary no-confidence vote earlier this year after an anti-graft body accused him of corruption when he failed to declare more than 200,000 euros ($261,800) worth of private assets.
Small eurozone nation Slovenia has been hit by a severe recession and is struggling to avoid an international bailout. Allegations of widespread corruption among the country's political elite have triggered street protests in the past.
Jovana Gec contributed from Belgrade.