A military court in Thessaloniki yesterday handed a 12-month suspended sentence to a young civilian who, during his military service on the northern border, shot and severely injured an elderly Albanian illegal immigrant. The court ruled that Georgios Ignatiadis, 22, had no intention of shooting 69-year-old Ferhat Ceka during the March 8, 2002 incident on the Albanian border. Judges accepted the former conscript’s version of the event, according to which his rifle went off accidentally when Ceka stumbled onto the weapon during his arrest. Ceka, who had to have one kidney and part of his liver removed as a result of the gunshot wound, had accused Ignatiadis and another serviceman, Petros Ioannidis, 22, of beating him before shooting him in the side. Both former conscripts were cleared of abuse charges, mainly on the basis of testimony from a forensic specialist who examined photos – taken 20 days after the incident – of cuts and bruises on Ceka’s body, and opined that they need not have been caused by a beating.