Bosnian Convicted of Fighting for Terrorist Group in Syria

28. January 2021.11:07
The Bosnian state court sentenced Senad Kasupovic to three years in prison for organising and joining a terrorist group, finding that he went to fight for Islamic State in Syria.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Senad Kasupovic. Izvor: Sud BiH
Senad Kasupović. Foto: Sud BiH

The court’s first-instance verdict found that Kasupovic left Bosnia and Herzegovina on July 12, 2013, travelled to Turkey and then illegally crossed the border into Syria, where he joined so-called Islamic State.

Kasupovic then remained in Syria for six years, until he was deported back to Bosnia on December 19, 2019, the verdict said.

“The court has established that the group which the defendant joined was declared a terrorist organisation by the United Nations,” said judge Mirsad Strika.

Strika said that this conclusion was based on testimony given by a protected witness codenamed S-3, who said that he saw the defendant in Syria when he was a member of the Bejt Komandos unit, and that he was uniformed and armed.

According to the judge, S-3’s testimony was confirmed by another witness whose statement was read out in the courtroom because she could not testify. This witness said she used to see Kasupovic in uniform and carrying a weapon, and that he was introduced to her under the name Muatesim.

“The court has determined that the defendant was in Syria, where he was photographed with armed individuals,” the judge said.

Strika also said that the defendant’s participation in terrorist activities had been omitted from the verdict, but that there was no doubt that he was a member of a terrorist group.

The judge said that the fact that the defendant had no previous convictions was a mitigating circumstance, while the duration of his stay in Syria was considered an aggravating circumstance.

The Bosnian state prosecution had charged Kasupovic with providing assistance to and siding with Islamic State forces in Manbij, Kobani, Raqqa and al-Bab in Syria as a member of the Bejt Komandos unit, which was later renamed el-Aksa.

The judge said that Islamic State carried out attacks on the local population and detained people with the aim of forcing constitutional and political regime change in Syria.

Testifying in his defence during the trial, Kasupovic insisted that he was incapable of serving as a soldier because he was wounded in Bosnia while he was still a boy, when his brother activated a bomb in their house. He said he was nearly blind in one eye.

Kasupovic is one of seven men who were deported from Syria in late 2019. His trial began on May 20, 2020 and the time he has already spent in custody, from his deportation onwards, will be counted towards his sentence.

The court extended Kasupovic’s custody remand until he is referred to the prison where he will serve his sentence, but said the custody measure cannot remain in force for more than nine months.

The verdict can be appealed.

Aida Trepanić

This post is also available in: Bosnian