- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- All Balkan Countries
As Bosnia's State Court on Monday remanded Mevlid Jasarevic, the man who fired on the US Embassy on Sarajevo, to 30 days' preliminary custody, the suspect said that as far as he was concerned, the court "did not exist".
Jasarevic arrived on a stretcher from the city’s Kosevo Hospital and was taken to Sarajevo’s central prison immediately following the hearing.
“This court does not exist for me,” a laconic but defiant Jasarevic told the judge from his wheelchair as the hearing began. “Only Allah can be the final judge.”
Presiding judge Nenad Seleda reprimanded him.
Jasarevic’s attorney, Senad Dupovac, requested that his client be placed under restrictive measures rather than a month in a detention facility. He said the media had exaggerated last Friday’s incident, which “it objectively does not deserve.”
He argued that his client did not truly commit a terrorist act because his goal was to become a martyr, not to murder other people.
Dupovac said that evidence for this was the fact that Jasarevic paced around for 40 minutes back and forth in front of the embassy without killing anyone, essentially making himself an open target.
After Dupovac laid out his defence, Jasarevic said he agreed with some but not all of what his court appointed lawyer had said. However, cradling his head in his hand, he declined to comment on specifics, saying he preferred to remain silent.
After his client was initially questioned in his hospital bedroom on Sunday, Dupovac said his client had acted alone and was not aware that what he did would constitute a terrorist act. He also said that Jasarevic was in need of psychiatric treatment.
The detainee, 23, told the court he has a primary school education and was currently unemployed, but had worked intermittently in construction.
The Court charged him with committing terrorism after he fired 105 bullets at the American embassy, seriously wounding a police officer, and creating panic on one of the city’s busiest intersections on Friday afternoon.
While he was shooting, he said he had come to “avenge the evils” perpetrated on Muslims by Americans.
Jasarevic is a member of a militant Muslim sect of the Wahhabi school of Islam. He is originally from Novi Pazar, Serbia, but has also spent time in Wahhabi communities in Austria, and in a nearly impenetrable Wahhabi enclave in northern Bosnia.
In two high-profile war crimes trials currently ongoing in Pristina, a series of witnesses have retracted previous statements alleging abuse at Kosovo Liberation Army detention centres.