news 25 Sep 12

Bosnia Embassy Gunman Denies Hitting Policeman

The lawyer for Mevlid Jasarevic, the man accused of attacking the US embassy in Sarajevo last year, says his client did not shoot the police officer who was wounded in both legs during the events.

Elvira M. Jukic
BIRN
Sarajevo

Mevlid Jasarevic, the 23-year-old on trial for shooting at the US embassy in Sarajevo on October 28, 2011, claims he did not shoot the policeman who was guarding the building and wounded during the attack.

His defence made the claim after ballistics expert Bruno Franic told the State Court on September 24 that 105 bullets were shot from an automatic rifle and five more from a gun used by two police officers who were trying to get the situation under control.

Franic said that bullet holes penetrated the wounded policeman's trousers, pants, socks and shoes while Jasarevic's clothes showed damage from bullets on his back.

Jasarevic's attorney, Senad Dupovac, told reporters afterwards that as Jasarevic was not the only person who opened fire that day, the policeman may have been wounded by so-called friendly fire from another policeman, not by Jasarevic.

“Jasarevic has claimed from the start that he did not shoot policeman Velic,” Dupovac noted.

The defence have admitted that he shot at the US embassy but have denied that he ever belonged to, or ran, an organized terrorist group.

The defence also maintains that local civilians and policemen were not the defendant's target, but only US special police "who were killing Iraqis".

The Bosnian indictment charges Jasarevic with attacking the US embassy and with shooting 105 bullets in 50 minutes from an automatic rifle and wounding a policemen.

Two alleged helpers are charged with assisting him in hiding the DVD message that Jasarevic recorded before coming to Sarajevo, and with destroying ammunition and military equipment that had been obtained for terrorist purposes.

The indictment says all three intended to express dissatisfaction with the position in Bosnia of the hard-line Muslim Wahhabi community, to which they belonged, and avenge that by violence.

All three men have pleaded not guilty to the charges. The defence also insists that the two alleged helpers did not know about Jasarevic's intentions.

Jasarevic is also indicted by the US Justice Department, which charhed him in April, among other matters, with attempted murder alongside nine other counts in connection with the shootings.

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