Bosnia strips citizenship from Muslim fighters
Thursday 24 May 2007
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."
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...
£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...
£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...