News 04 Jan 16

Serbian Nationalist Leader Seselj Backs Donald Trump

Serbian Radical Party leader and war crimes defendant Vojislav Seselj called on Serbs in the United States to support would-be Republican candidate Donald Trump for the presidency.

Ivana Nikolic
BIRN
Belgrade

Seselj called on Serbian-Americans to support Trump.

 Photo: Beta.

“I call on brother Serbs who live in the USA to strongly support Republican Party candidate Donald Trump in the upcoming presidential elections,” Seselj wrote on his Twitter account on Sunday.

Billionaire tycoon Trump, who is currently competing for the nomination to become the Republican Party’s candidate in the November 2016 polls, has made several statements during his campaign which have been criticised for being anti-Muslim.

Serbian Radical Party chief Seselj, who is on trial for wartime crimes in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia, has also been criticised for being anti-Muslim on various occasions.

In December, after deadly shootings in California were linked to the killers’ alleged support for Islamic state, Trump said that he wanted “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on”.

Seselj meanwhile has long supported the idea of a ‘Greater Serbia’, and in 2013 described Bosnia as “undoubtedly Serbian”.

“If the Muslim fundamentalists don’t like that, they can pack their bags and leave,” he said.

The US is home to around a million Serbian-Americans, with the biggest Serbian diaspora community based in Chicago.

Seselj's tweet about Trump.

Serbian Radical Party chief Seselj has been accused of repeatedly exacerbating ethnic tensions since he returned to Serbia in November 2014 after being granted temporary release on humanitarian grounds for cancer treatment by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, ICTY.

Since his return, he has led nationalist protests and made a series of hardline statements that have angered war victims.

He has also said several times that he will not return to the ICTY for the verdict in his trial voluntarily.

Although this breached the terms of his release, the UN court could not find a mechanism to force the Serbian government to send him back to The Hague. Serbia has claimed that Seselj’s health has deteriorated so much that he is not able to travel.

The verdict in his trial is expected later this year.

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