ISSN 2330-717X

US Deports Bosnian Serb Couple For War Lies

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The US deported a former Bosnian Serb military officer and his wife to Serbia after they were convicted of lying about the man’s activities in the 1992-95 war to gain immigration benefits.

Former Bosnian Serb Army officer Ratko Maslenjak and his wife Divna Maslenjak have been deported to Belgrade for lying about the ex-soldier’s military involvement in the Bosnian war, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement department said on Monday.

“The pair withheld or lied about the husband’s extensive involvement in the 1992-1995 civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, including at Srebrenica in July 1995,” US Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement on its website.

“The pair repeatedly failed to disclose and blatantly lied to US immigration officials about Ratko’s extensive service in the notorious Bratunac Brigade, a military unit implicated in assisting in the brutal persecution and massacre of thousands of Bosnian Muslims during the conflict,” it added.

The couple entered the US fraudulently in 2000, the statement said. Ratko Maslenjak got permanent residency status in 2004 and Divna Maslenjak became a naturalised US citizen in 2007.

After an investigation in Cleveland, Ohio, where they were living, Ratko Maslenjak was convicted of fraudulently obtaining immigration benefits in 2007, and Divna Maslenjak was convicted of naturalisation fraud and using the status she acquired through fraud to get immigration benefits for her husband.

They were ordered to be deported in May this year and were flown to Belgrade on October 1, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement said.


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Balkan Insight

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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