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Jadranko Prlic said in a letter to the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals in The Hague that he does not want to serve his 25-year sentence in a prison on Britain’s Isle of Wight because it is intended for offenders convicted of violent or sexual crimes.
“A 2015 report on an inspection of this prison indicates that, although the incidence of violence has been reduced, 18 per cent of inmates do not feel safe, while 36 per cent reported violence by other convicts and 34 per cent reported violence by guards,” Prlic said in his letter, which BIRN has seen.
He said the prison does not provide convicts with the possibility of using computers, which would complicate his work on a request for a review of the UN court’s second-instance verdict which found him guilty of participating in a joint criminal enterprise aimed at persecuting Bosniaks during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s.
Prlic also said that not having access to his laptop will prevent him from writing books. His letter says he has already published 11 books.
He argued that he should be allowed to serve his sentence in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as the country’s new state prison is due to soon. He said the new prison was built using resources from the international community in accordance with the highest standards.
He also sent his letter with an additional appeal to Bosnian Justice Minister Josip Grubesa, seeking his help.
“As it is impossible for me to serve my sentence in my country, which would be logical, I want to be transferred to a prison which has the same conditions as the state prison, where individuals sentenced for similar crimes will serve their sentences,” Prlic said.
In November 2017, the Hague Tribunal’s appeals chamber sentenced Prlic to 25 years in prison along with five other senior officials of the unrecognised wartime Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia.
Prlic, Slobodan Praljak, Bruno Stojic, Milivoj Petkovic, Valentin Coric and Berislav Pusic were all found guilty of crimes against humanity and other crimes against Bosniaks while they were senior political and military officials of the Herzeg-Bosnia statelet.
Praljak, the chief of the main headquarters of the Croatian Defence Council, which was the Bosnian Croat military force, and Petkovic, who was the Croatian Defence Council’s deputy commander, were both given 20 years in jail.
Stojic, the defence minister of the Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia, was also jailed for 20 years.
Coric, the former commander of the Croatian Defence Council’s military police, was sentenced to 16 years, while Pusic, the president of Herzeg-Bosnia’s Commission for the Exchange of Prisoners, was given ten years.
As the judgment was being read out, Praljak drank poison in the courtroom and died later that day.