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Former Sarajevo Public Safety Center Chief Claims No Knowledge of Silos Abuse

26. November 2015.00:00
Bakir Alispahic, the former head of the Sarajevo public safety center, testified at the trial of eight former members of Bosnian military and police forces charged with war crimes in Hadzici.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

At today’s hearing, Alispahic said he didn’t know the status of the Silos detention facility in Hadzici. He said he knew people of military interest were held in the facility.

Mustafa Djelilovic, Fadil Covic, Mirsad Sabic, Nezir Kazic, Becir Hujic, Halid Covic, Serif Mesanovic and Nermin Kalember have been charged with war crimes in the municipality of Hadzici. The indictment alleges they were members of military and police authorities, as well as managers or guards in detention camps, such as the Silos detention facility.

They have been charged with the unlawful detention, inhumane treatment, physical abuse and mental suffering of detainees. They’ve also been charged with taking detainees to other locations to perform forced labour.

Testifying in defense of Mustafa Djelilovic, Bakir Alispahic said he heard that individuals who were associated with a Serb attack on Hadzici were detained in the Silos detention facility in 1993. He said he didn’t have any concrete information on who had established the facility.

“Those men were on the lists of the Serbian Democratic Party or the Yugoslav National Army, or weapons had been found in their homes. I didn’t know any details, except for the fact that they were interesting in military or security terms,” Alispahic said.

He said Serb forces “closed off Sarajevo hermetically” as of April 1992, so communication with Hadzici was difficult.

When asked whether the public safety center or state security service participated in the establishment and maintenance of the Silos detention facility, Alispahic said he didn’t know.

“All I heard was that two members of the state security service documented certain findings in that area,” Alispahic said.

During cross-examination, the state prosecution asked Alispahic whether he knew that certain individuals were held in the Silos detention facility without official decisions on their detention or for longer than 72 hours – both actions which were prohibited by law. Alispahic said he had received no such information.

He said he knew that certain individuals were held in detention for longer than 72 hours and without official decisions because of the “extraordinary situation of war.”

The trial will continue on December 10.

Denis Džidić

This post is also available in: Bosnian