By Jim Kouri
Mevlid Jasarevic, a citizen of Serbia, was indicted on Tuesday by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia on charges of attempted murder and other criminal acts in connection with his alleged machine gun attack on the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina last October, according to officials at the U.S. Justice Department.
The assault has caused serious concerns regarding al-Qaeda’s radicalization of Muslims in that impoverished region, according to a Law Enforcement Examiner source.
Meanwhile in Bosnia, prosecutors charged three men, including Jasarevic, with terrorism on Monday for their participation in the October 28, 2011 attack on the American embassy.
According to a U.S. law enforcement source, the attackers have raised serious questions about the threat from radicalized Muslims in the Balkans and the likelihood that al-Qaeda operatives may be involved in both recruitment and training of newly radicalized Muslims.
The U.S. government’s 10-count indictment charges the 23-year old Jasarevic with one count of attempted murder of U.S. officers or employees; one count of attempted murder of U.S. nationals within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States (the U.S. Embassy); one count of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to do bodily harm within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States; one count of assaulting U.S. officers or employees with a deadly weapon; one count of destruction of property within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States; and five counts of use of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime.
The United States has closely cooperated with Bosnia-Herzegovina authorities in their investigation of the U.S. Embassy attack and strongly supports their decision to charge and prosecute those allegedly involved. The United States will continue to cooperate fully with authorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina to bring to justice those involved, according to officials at the U.S. Department of Justice.
The attempted murder charges against Jasarevic, as well as the charges of assaulting U.S. officers and employees with a deadly weapon, and destruction of property each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years. Each charge of using a firearm during a crime of violence carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years for use of a machine gun. The charge of assault with a dangerous weapon with intent to do bodily harm within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.
The Bosnian prosecutor’s office said in a statement that Jasarevic, Emrah Fojnica and Munib Ahmetspahic were accused of forming a terrorist group in the northeastern village of Gornja Maoca, home to adherents of the strict Wahhabi branch of Islam. Wahhabism is exported by radicals in Saudi Arabia.