ISSN 2330-717X

Bosnia Closes First Hearing On US Embassy Gunman

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By Valerie Hopkins

An initial hearing has concluded against Mevlid Jasarevic, who opened fire on the US embassy in Sarajevo last Friday.

The hearing on Sunday is the first step in the prosecution of Jasarevic, who opened fire on the American embassy intermittently for half an hour with an AK-47 assault rifle. He was finally disabled when a Bosnian police sniper shot him in the ankle. There were no fatalities, but Jasarevic, 23, from Novi Pazar in Serbia, wounded a Bosnian police officer, Mirsad Velic.

“During questioning Jasarevic laid out his defence, and the prosecutor conducting the investigation will on Monday motion the court to place him in 30 days detention,” Selma Hecirovic of the State Prosecutor’s office told Balkan Insight.

The hearing was conducted in Jasarevic’s hospital bedroom at Kosevo Hospital, where his injured ankle is still being cared for.

Bosnian and Serbian law enforcement agencies conducted several raids this weekend as part of the investigation into the terrorist attack. Two men were arrested yesterday in a raid on the northern Bosnian village of Gornja Maoca, a notorious home of hardline Muslims.

The two men admitted that they drove the gunman to Sarajevo on Friday morning, claiming Jasarevic had paid them to drive him to the Bosnian capital. The prosecutor’s office said Jasarevic’s wife, Mirela, was also under investigation.

In Serbia, police arrested 17 people suspected of holding extreme Islamist views in raids on three towns in the mainly Muslim southwest Sandzak region: Jasarevic’s hometown of Novi Pazar, as well as Sjenica and Tutin. The detainees were released in the afternoon following questioning.

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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