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16 May 2016

Bosnian Boxing Star Acquitted of Wartime Crimes

Mirsad Arnautovic BIRN BiH Brcko
Former world champion boxer Mensur Peljto was acquitted of abusing and torturing Serb civilians and prisoners of war while he was a fighter with the Croatian Defence Council in 1992.
The Basic Court in Brcko acquitted Mensur Peljto on Monday of abusing Serb civilians and prisoners of war in the area aroud the town during wartime, citing a lack of evidence.

Peljto, who won his IBF cruiserweight world title after the war, in 2000, served as a fighter with the Croatian Defence Council during the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Presiding judge Muhamed Avdic said that the prosecution failed to prove the Peljto tortured, abused and inflicted pain on detainees were held at the former Majevica forest farm in Okrajci near Brcko in May and June 1992.

“The court looked closely at the testimonies of the three key witnesses, considering that there was no other evidence alleging that the defendant abused civilians or prisoners of war. However, analysing the testimonies of those three witnesses, the court found they were contradictory,” said Avdic.

Peljto was originally charged alongside Redzep Salaj, another former member of the Croatian Defence Council. Both men pleaded not guilty.

Peljto’s verdict can be appealed, while Salaj’s trial is still ongoing.
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