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Bosnia Holds Alleged Islamic State Ex-Fighter After Airport Arrest

The Bosnian state court issued a one-month detention order for Adnan Catic, who allegedly spent a decade fighting for the so-called Islamic State militant organisation in Syria and Iraq.

The Bosnian state court remanded Adnan Catic in custody for a month on Tuesday after he was arrested at Sarajevo Airport.

Thirty-five-year-old Catic is under investigation by the Bosnian state prosecution on suspicion of going to fight in Syria and Iraq as part of the so-called Islamic State, which has been declared a terrorist organisation by the United Nations Security Council.

“The detainment of the suspect is justified by a credible suspicion that he committed the criminal offence of organising a terrorist group,” the court said in a statement.

At a court hearing, prosecutor Dubravko Campara said that Catic returned from Turkey to Bosnia and Herzegovina with an expired passport and was detained at the airport on November 17, after almost ten years spent abroad as a fighter.

Catic’s defence lawyer, Senad Dupovac, denied the claim.

“My client has never been part of any military formation; he worked in a primary school established by a British organisation. He spent a long time working in the school’s copy centre binding books,” said Dupovac.

The Bosnian state prosecution has charged him with criminal offences such as organising a terrorist group, unlawfully forming and joining foreign paramilitary or para-police organisations in connection with the crime of terrorism.

According to a BIRN analysis, courts in Bosnia have sentenced 39 people to a combined total of just over 164 years in prison for going to fight abroad and for committing, planning and preparing terrorist acts. The courts have acquitted three defendants.

Bosnia has sentenced people who illegally go to fight abroad to less than two years in prison on average.

Source : Balkan Insight