Source AP ©

Sweden rejects request for pardon by Plavsic

Biljana Plavsic, convicted Bosnian Serb war criminal, will not be released from jail, the Swedish government decided on Thursday.

The government gave no reasons for not accepting her request, in line with previous policy, although the rejection was widely expected,

Plavsic, 76, sent a handwritten letter to the government last year asking to be pardoned from an 11-year prison sentence for war crimes, saying harassment by fellow inmates has damaged her health.

Bosnia's ambassador to the United Nations, Milos Prica, had also asked the government to release Plavsic - the only woman convicted of war crimes by the U.N. Yugoslav tribunal - citing poor conditions at the Hinseberg prison in central Sweden where she has been serving her sentence since 2003.

Plavsic, a leading figure in the Bosnian Serb government during the 1992-1995 war, was indicted for planning the "ethnic cleansing" of non-Serbs in Serb-dominated areas of Bosnia.

She surrendered to U.N. officials in January 2001, pledging to fight eight counts of war crimes, but ultimately pleaded guilty.