News 22 Nov 16

Female Bosnian Croat Ex-Fighter Extradited from US

Azra Basic, a former Bosnian Croat fighter accused of brutally killing a Serb prisoner and torturing others, was extradited from the United States to Sarajevo to stand trial.

Azra Basic after being handed over in Sarajevo. Photo: Bosnian prosecution.

Basic, 57, was handed over to the Bosnian authorities at Sarajevo airport on Tuesday after being deported from the US to face war crimes charges.

“Basic is charged with personally committing the murder of one civilian in the period from April 1992 to June 1992 in the Derventa municipality, taking part in the deliberate infliction of severe physical and mental pain and suffering, and torturing a larger number of Serb civilians who were detained at the JNA [Yugoslav People’s Army] Centre in Derventa,” the Bosnian prosecution said in a statement,

Croatian-born Basic left Bosnia and Herzegovina after the war and settled in the US, eventually becoming a naturalised citizen.

But she was arrested in the state of Kentucky in 2011 and prosecuted for immigration fraud after allegedly giving false information about her role in the Bosnian war when she arrived in the US. She has been battling extradition since then.

The Kentucky Herald Leader reported earlier this year that witnesses gave gruesome accounts of Basic’s role in the Serb prisoners’ abuse.

“Witnesses said she took part in horrific conduct, including killing one man by stabbing him in the throat and forcing other prisoners to drink his blood,” the newspaper reported.

But Basic insists that she took part only in ordinary military operations against Serb troops and did not commit any war crimes, according to the newspaper, and that she herself had been badly mistreated in a Serb prison camp.

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