Custody Extension Requested for Returnee from Syria Jasmin Keserovic

15. January 2020.12:55
The State Prosecution has demanded a two-month extension of custody for Jasmin Keserovic, one of the seven persons suspected of fighting on Syrian battlefront who were flown back to Bosnia and Herzegovina on December 19, due to a risk that he might flee and influence witnesses, possibly repeat the crime and because the crime in question is punishable with ten years in prison or longer.

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Prosecutor Cazim Hasanspahic said the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina now requested custody extension for other special reasons, not only due to a danger that he might flee, because the investigation had been expanded and the custody motion was accompanied by evidence pertaining to several people who stayed in Syria and saw suspect Jasmin Keserovic there. As Hasanspahic said, in the upcoming period additional verifications and examinations of people who had returned from Syria in the meantime would be conducted, so there was a justified suspicion that Keserovic, being aware of the gravity of the crime, would influence the witnesses.

“The proposal is accompanied by a video undoubtedly depicting Jasmin Keserovic addressing Muslims all over Europe and the world, telling them: ‘Stand up, Muslims, kill Christians and their servants, plant the explosives (…) kill them in any way you can. Do not differentiate between civilians and soldiers’,” the prosecutor said.

According to the Prosecution, the public, which is familiar with this video to a large extent, would be disturbed by Keserovic’s release to liberty.

The prosecutor said that an arrest warrant was issued against Keserovic in 2015, adding that he was among the first people who left to Syria in 2013 for which there was material evidence, and was unavailable to Bosnian judiciary for seven years.

“The evidence include a statement given by his father Dzevad Keserovic, who invited him to come back, but Keserovic did not express a wish to return. Quite the opposite, he invited other members of his family to join him,” Hasanspahic said.

Keserovic’s defense attorney Senad Dupovac said the Prosecution’s allegations were “bombastic”, requesting less stringent measures, including house arrest for his client. He said that Keserovic had gone to Syria when “ISIL did not exist and the decision declaring it a terrorist organization had not been made”. According to Dupovac, at that time “the Arab spring” was happening in Syria.

“The mere departure to Syria is not a crime. (…) As for the video recording, the Prosecution has not specified who made it, when and where it was made, or who published it,” Dupovac said, claiming that Keserovic was in a Kurdish camp at the time the video was made.

He pointed out that Keserovic did not try to remove any traces and evidence, adding that the witnesses listed in the State Prosecution’s custody extension proposal were in fact investigators of the State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA), who had not stayed in Syria. Prosecutor Hasanspahic objected, saying that they intended to examine some protected witnesses as well.

Keserovic was transferred to Bosnia and Herzegovina together with Emir Alisic, Senad Kasupovic, Milarem Berbic and Hamza Labidi, Armen Dzelko and Muharem Dunic, who too are suspected of fighting on foreign battlefronts. The State Court ordered them into one-month custody in December.

So far the State Court has sentenced 26 men to the total of 51 years and two months in prison for going to battlefronts in Syria, trying to go there or recruiting other people for that purpose.

Džana Brkanić

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