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news 22 May 13

Extra Detention Sought for Bosnia Federation President

The State Prosecutor has sought two more months' custody for the Federation entity President, Zivko Budimir, along with four others arrested in an alleged bribery case.

Elvira M. Jukic

The Bosnian State Prosecutor on May 21 told the court that Zivko Budimir, President of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of two entities in Bosnia, should remain for two more months in custody following his arrest at the end of April.

The Prosecutor's Office also wants the President's advisor, Petar Barisic, and three other officials, Saud Kulosman, Ivan Jurcevic and Hidajet Halilovic, to remain behind bars.

The five are charged with organized crime, misuse of position and authorities, illegal mediation and with taking and giving bribes.

Budimir is accused of wrongly approving amnesties for persons convicted for crimes as grave as attempted murder.

He was detained on April 26 as part of a wider police action aimed at tackling corruption and bribery.

Media reports say Budimir accepted 162 of 435 demands for amnesty since he became the Federation President at the end of 2011.

His arrest came amid a political crisis in the Federation, and the entity parliament is now trying to determine who should assume his presidential functions, as the constitution is not clear about the process in this unprecedented situation.

An ad hoc parliamentary commission is determining whether Budimir can remain President while in custody or whether his powers whould pass to the entity Vice-Presidents or to others.

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