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At the start of the trial of Mevlid Jasarevic and two alleged helpers for the attack on the US embassy in Sarajevo, the defence says it will prove he was not part of an organised terrorist group while criticising the indictment.
Mevlid Jasarevic, who opened fire on the US embassy in Sarajevo on October 28, and two of his helpers, Emrah Fojnica and Munib Ahmetspahic, were brought to the State Court on Friday to hear the indictment, but were then removed for not showing respect.
Branko Peric, the chief judge, said that when the judicial staff, including the judges, came into the court, everyone present stood up, as proscribed by law, except for the three accused.
“Everything invented by man is forbidden for Muslims to respect,” Jasarevic said, referring to laws prescribing people to stand up when a judge enters the court.
Fojnica and Ahmetspahic also remained seated, explaining that they did so for religious reasons.
Judge Peric told the defence to explain to the defendants that the court is not asking them to worship it, but to behave according to the law, which demands the same standard of respect “as when a guest comes to your house”.
As for the small traditional hats that Jasarevic and Fojnica wore and were told to remove, the two took them off after ten minutes but Jasarevic commented: “They allow homosexuals all across Europe to do what they want while a Muslim woman cannot wear a niqab [facial cover].”
After the three were removed from the court, the State Prosecutor, Dubravko Campara, read the indictment, describing Jasarevic, Fojnica and Ahmetspahic as members of an organized terrorist group from the village of Gornja Maoca.
The indictment issued in April accuses Jasarevic and the two others of committing a terrorist act by attacking the US embassy in Sarajevo on October 28, 2011, with intention to express dissatisfaction over the position of the Wahhabi community, to which they belonged, and avenge that by violence.
The indictment says Jasarevic went to Sarajevo and opened fire from an automatic rifle, shooting for some 50 minutes with at least 105 bullets at the embassy.
Campara said the prosecution will prove guilt for the shootings with numerous videos filmed by the media and citizens on the day and will also show a DVD message made by Jasarevic in his home in Gornja Maoca before he came to Sarajevo.
According to the indictment, during the shooting, Jasarevic shouted threats at US embassy staff and citizens who were near the building and wounded a police officer guarding the building. He also caused material damage to the US worth some 100,000 US dollars.
“What happened that day could not have been done without a good organized group,” Campara said, adding that he will produce 26 witness and 13 experts as well as material evidence including the DVD message.
“We have a video message where you can see Mevlid sitting and threatening the whole international community,” Campara said.
The lawyer for the first defendant, Senad Dupovac, said the defence will prove it was an act of an individual and also that the two alleged helpers did not know what Jasarevic intended to do in Sarajevo.
Fojnica and Ahmetspahic are indicted for participation in the crime because they hid a DVD message that Jasarevic had recorded before coming to Sarajevo and because they destroyed ammunition and military equipment that had been obtained for terrorist purposes, the indictment says.
After the court session, Dupovac told reporters that the indictment was flawed, as Dino Pecenkovic, the man who drove Jasarevic and Ahmetspahic to Sarajevo, was not included in the indictment although the investigation determined he was a helper too.
Pecenkovic was arrested along with Jasarevic and Ahmetspahic in October but was later released and will appear as a witness for the prosecution.
Jasarevic, from Novi Pazar in Serbia, spent time with his family in Gornja Maoca, known as a centre of the hardline Islamic Wahhabi movement, before coming to Sarajevo on October 28.
After the attack, police conducted raids on several sites in Bosnia and Serbia, mostly in Gornja Maoca.
Jasaravic was also indicted by the US Justice Department in April and charged, among other matters, with attempted murder alongside nine other counts in connection with the attack on the US embassy.
Mevlid Jasarevic and two others pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges brought against them for shooting at the US embassy in Sarajevo on October 28 last year.
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