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news 24 Aug 12

Sarajevo Gunman Claims Civilians Were Not His Target

At his trial on August 23, Mevlid Jasarevic, who shot at the US embassy in Sarajevo last year, said his aim was to shoot US special police 'who were killing Iraqis', not local passers-by.

Elvira M. Jukic

At the continuation of the trial of Mevlid Jasarevic, 23, and two of his helpers, three men recalled events on October 28, 2011, when Jasarevic shot at the US embassy in Sarajevo and wounded a police officer.

One witness, Mirsad Velic, the policemen who was injured by Jasarevic during the shooting, said he was still recovering.

He said he had not felt sure he could shoot at Jasarevic to stop him because he was too far away, and if he had missed, the bullet could have hit one of the many citizens around at the time.

Another policeman who witnessed the events, Miralem Muslic, said he helped the wounded Velic and also helped locals find shelter in the nearby shopping centre.

Muslic added that according to the way Jasarevic handled his weapon, he looked well trained.

Dalibor Cato, the police officer who was guarding the US embassy, said he tried to shoot back at Jasarevic three times, but due to the distance and the type of gun he held, he missed.

The witnesses explained in detail their various positions to prosecutor Dubravko Campara who provided them with photographs of the site.

The suspect himself on Thursday told the court that his target was not civilians but, as he said, US special policemen who kill people in Iraq.

Jasarevic also complained to the court about conditions in his cell in Sarajevo, saying he could not watch television and adding that he wanted a transfer.

He is charged with attacking the US embassy to Bosnia, shooting 105 bullets in 50 minutes from an auto rifle and wounding a policemen.

Emrah Fojnica and Munib Ahmetspahic, the two alleged helpers, are charged with assisting Jasarevic.

More precisely they allegedly hid the DVD message that Jasarevic had recorded before coming to Sarajevo on the day, and destroyed ammunition and military equipment that had been obtained for terrorist purposes.

The trial started on June 15 at Bosnia's State Court, when the indictment was read out.

The defence admits the suspect's action but insists he was not part of an organized terrorist group. The prosecution maintains that Jasarevic, Ahmetspahic and Fojnica were all members of an organized terrorist group that was active in the village of Gornja Maoca in northeast Bosnia.

The indictment says the three men intended to express dissatisfaction with the position in Bosnia of the extreme Wahhabi community, to which they belonged, and avenge that by violence.

All three have pleaded not guilty to the charges. Jasarevic is also indicted by the US Justice Department.

In April it charged him, among other matters, with attempted murder alongside nine other counts in connection with the shootings.

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