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10 October 2013

Paramilitaries ‘Beat Prisoners’ at Bosnia’s Silos Camp

Selma Ucanabrlic BIRN BiH Sarajevo
A former prisoner told the trial for war crimes at detention centres in Hadzici near Sarajevo that members of paramilitary units beat up Bosnian Serb prisoners at the Silos jail camp.
Prosecution witness Novica Suvajlo told the Sarajevo court on Thursday that in mid-1992, together with other men from the village of Odzak, he was taken to the Silos detention camp.

“The bus stopped. A gauntlet waited for us. We were told to go one by one and they beat us. We went to cell number six. There we found frightened people,” recalled Suvajlo.

He said that he was assaulted whenever members of paramilitary units visited the Silos camp.

“They would beat us. They hit us with fists and rifle butts, they kicked us with their feet,” Suvajlo said.

The witness said that prisoners complained to the warden, defendant Becir Hujic, about the paramilitaries’ violent visits, but the warden told them that “he did not know about it”.

The prosecution charges Hujic, together with Mustafa Djelilovic, Fadil Covic, Mirsad Sabic, Nezir Kazic, Halid Covic, Serif Mesanovic, and Nermin Kalember with crimes against Serbian and Croatian prisoners at the Silos camp, the Krupa barracks and the 9th of May school in Hadzici.

According to the indictment, Hujic was the warden of the Silos camp, as was Halid Covic at a later date. Mesanovic was one of the deputy wardens at the detention centre and also camp warden in the Krupa military barracks, Kalember was a guard, while the others worked for the civilian, military or police authorities.

Suvajlo said that there were guards with “a bad reputation” at Silos, but none of them beat him. He added that one of those notorious guards was Kalember.

The trial will resume on October 17.
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