Jezik / Language:
17 December 2014

Beating of Imam

Goran Obradović BIRN BiH Banja Luka

The trial of Sretko Dragic, Zoran Torbica, Dalibor Jojic and Dragan Gnjatic, who are charged with having beaten and unlawfully arrested an Imam from the Prijedor area in March 1993, has begun before the District Court in Banja Luka.

Testifying as the first Prosecution witness, Imam Adil Solo said that he was at his neighbour’s in Cela village, Prijedor, when he heard someone banging on the door and shooting from a rifle during the night. As he said, after having heard that, he jumped through a window and began running away.

“When they noticed that I was running away, they chased me. When I was about a hundred metres away from the house, I fell into a hole, which I did not notice as it was dark. A group of men, about 7 or 8 of them, came running and began hitting me with their hands and legs. Sretko Dragic beat me more than the others. I tried to defend myself, but they continued beating me,” Solo said.

According to his testimony, they knocked him down. Four of them held his hands and legs. As he said, Dragic sat on his chest and said: “No bullets, but a knife”.

“He then carved a cross on my forehead with a knife. Later on they picked me up and took me to the house. They placed me in a seated position on the couch and continued beating me. Dragic’s wife was dancing on the table. She had a big knife and said that she would pull my eyes out unless I gave them 20,000 Marks. Dragic said that he could get 10,000 Marks for my head,” Solo said.

The witness said that he was taken out of that house, but he was brought back again. 

“Just before the dawn Slavko Torbica entered the house and asked them what they were doing. He told them that he was leaving, but that they must not even touch me. At that moment I told him not to leave me with them if he wanted to save me. He then took a cap from one of them, put it on my head and took me away,” the witness said. 

He said that he was beaten up so brutally that nobody could recognise him afterwards. As he said, his head was covered with bruises, while his nose, ribs and arm were broken and he had other injuries as well.

When asked by the Defence attorneys of the other indictees if he knew their clients, the witness said that he knew them by sight, but he did not remember having seen any of them in the group of people who beat him up.

The trial is due to continue on January 27.

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