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25 April 2013
News

Prisoners ‘Forced Into Hard Labour’ by Bosnian Guards

Mirna Buljugic BIRN BiH Sarajevo
A former prisoner told the trial for war crimes committed in Hadzici near Sarajevo that defendant Becir Hujic ordered detainees at the Silos camp to do hard labour.
Prosecution witness Nedeljko Magazin told the court in Sarajevo on Thursday that in June 1992, when he lived in the Hadzici settlement of Rastelica, he was arrested together with his son on orders from the head of the territorial defence force and ultimately locked up at the Silos detention camp.

“When we arrived, we were admitted by Becir Hujic, who was the camp’s warden. Then we were put in cells,” said the witness, adding that Hujic’s deputy was another of the defendants, Fadil Covic.

Magazin said Hujic first used to ask for volunteers to work, but that after a while “guards or the warden used lists to determine who would go to work”.

According to the witness, the conditions in the camp were very bad until the Red Cross visited on November 26, 1992.

“We slept on the concrete floor, the food was very bad. Water and pumpkin seeds... We relieved ourselves in a bucket and got water in a five-litre container for 54 men,” said Magazin.

The Bosnian prosecution charges Becir Hujic, Halid Covic, Mustafa Djelilovic, Fadil Covic, Mirsad Sabic, Nezir Kazic, Serif Mesanovic and Nermin Kalember with crimes against prisoners in 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, while the others were members of the civilian, military or police authorities.

Witness Magazin said that he was jailed in April 1993 for two and a half years for illegally carrying and procuring weapons after guns were handed out to men in his neighbourhood.

Magazin said that after he left the camp, he heard from his son-in-law that while he was held at Silos, defendant Kalember beat him up, but the witness said that Kalember treated him correctly.

The trial will resume on May 9.
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