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Princip, Terrorism, and Criminal Justice

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100 years ago today, Gavrilo Princip (a member of a Serbian terrorist organization) shot and killed the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the thrones of Austria-Hungary.  Princip also killed the Archduke’s wife, Sophie.

After his arrest (which was, according to onlookers, brutal), Gavrilo Princip and his co-conspirators were given a trial in a civilian court, with access to defense counsel.  The trial began less than four months after the assassination, and lasted two weeks. As he was a minor (just short of 20) at the time of the assassination, Princip was sentenced to the maximum allowable punishment, 20 years at hard labor. Five of his older co-conspirators were sentenced to death, with three of the five eventually executed by hanging.

Reputedly, the conspirators were subjected to solitary confinement once per year, on June 28.  Princip himself contracted tuberculosis in prison, and died in April 1918.

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