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."
Oscar Pistorius trial: Defence's own witness contradicts athlete's version of events
Oscar Pistorius trial: The case against Oscar Pistorius – and why the prosecution claims his story doesn't add up
Almost 40m gallons of drinking water discarded – because a man urinated in it
Peaches Geldof funeral: Private ceremony to be held at same place as her mother Paula Yates on Easter Monday
Shropshire criminals ‘using unmanned drones and infrared cameras to find illegal cannabis farms’ – and then steal from the growers
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
- 1 Are you turning into your dad? The top ten signs you've embraced dad-ism revealed as survey says 38 is age men turn into their father
- 2 Overheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
- 3 Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Grace Dent on TV: Game of Thrones has jumped the shark
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...