Bosnia strips citizenship from Muslim fighters

When Bosnia was being carved up between Serbian and Croatian militias and the West's involvement was limited to sending "peacekeepers" to watch it happen, volunteers from the Islamic world were the only force fighting alongside the Bosniacs to keep the Muslim-majority state intact.

They came from Turkey, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere, and were rewarded with Bosnian nationality by the government of Ali Isetbegovic. But now the government is to strip hundreds of the former mujahedin of their nationality and send them back to their countries of origin, even though they are no longer citizens there.

The Bosnian parliament has adopted a law empowering a commission to investigate naturalisations effected between the outbreak of war in April 1992 and January 2006. It is looking into the cases of 1,500 people, and has already stripped citizenship from 488 of them. Decisions may be appealed against, but if the appeal is lost, deportation is automatic.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Bosnian branch of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights have all written to the Bosnian government protesting against the action and urging it not to proceed with the deportations, warning that those deported face possible arrest on their return to their countries of origin.

The head of the commission, Vjekoslav Vukovic, insisted that the process was based strictly on legal criteria. "We look at a lot of the documentation from that time," he said. "We look at empty files, we find false documents, false records."

He said that even if deportees lost their appeals, they had the right to reapply for Bosnian residency from their countries of origin. But those who face being uprooted from the homes they have made with local women were in no doubt that pressure from the United States was behind the purge. "They are being expelled because they're Arabs, because they're Muslims, and they came here to help us," said Mustafa Ceric, the leader of Bosnia's Muslims.

But there are tensions with the local population. "According to normal people we didn't need them, even during wartime," Mirsad Fazlic, a local journalist, told the BBC. "And we specially don't need them now."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: IT Infrastructure Engineer

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is looking to find a...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Manager / Technical Executive

£25000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity exists ...

Recruitment Genius: IT Engineer

£21000 - £23600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

Recruitment Genius: Purchase Ledger & Arrears Supervisor

£22000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are an experienced super...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss