Hidajet Delic Held in Windowless Cargo Box
Near the Side of a Road Outside Sarajevo
(SARAJEVO, March 4) Bosnian Serb authorities have charged a photographer for the Bosnian government news agency with ordering a murder and serving in the government army, the international police force said Monday. Hidajet Delic, who has also worked for The Associated Press, was arrested Feb. 8 at a NATO-controlled bridge that divides the city between the Serbs and the Bosnian government.
Delic, 47, has "been charged with two crimes: being part of the Bosnian Army in 1992, and ordering the murder of a Serb in an incident... in summer 1992," said Alexander Ivanko, spokesman for the International Police Task Force.
Delic, a photographer with the state-run BH PRESS news agency, was being held in a shipping container without windows or a proper toilet, international monitors reported on Monday. Members of the U.N. police in Bosnia, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and other human rights monitors were allowed to visit him at a hotel last week in Pale, the village capital for separatist Serbs near Sarajevo.
Hidajet Delic, a Sarajevo photographer who is accredited to the Bosnian government news agency and who also takes pictures for the Associated Press, looked tired and nervous from his ordeal according to a report issued by the international monitors and obtained by Reuterss.
Serb police were keeping Delic in a blue container five metres by two metres (about 16 feet by 6 1/2 feet) on the main road through Pale, less than a kilometre (half a mile) from the offices of Bosnian Serb civilian leaders, it said. He had been given a small electric heater but the container was still "very cold." Delic had to use a pot as a toilet and a guard emptied it every morning, the report said.
Although he testified he had not been physically abused and was being fed, Delic had been threatened and gave the impression of a person who had not slept for a long time, the report said. "He was nervous and often near to tears," said the report, adding Serb police had threatened to kill him and interrogated him several times at length.
One U.N. official called the conditions of Delic's detention "absolutely outrageous" at a time when the Dayton peace treaty guarantees freedom of movement in Bosnia. Delic was held on February 8 along with a Serbian AP photographer in the Serb-held suburb of Grbavica. The Serbian was released the next day.
Serb authorities seized Delic following a warning that Serb police would detain citizens of the Muslim-Croat Federation crossing into Serb-controlled territory in retaliation for the arrest of two senior Serb army officers. General Djordje Djukic and Colonel Aleksa Krsmanovic were seized by the Bosnian government near Sarajevo on January 30 and later extradited to the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague.
The office for the international community's High Representative for Bosnia, Carl Bildt, has demanded Delic's immediate release. Troops from the NATO-led peace Implementation Force regularly use the main road through Pale, passing the container where Delic is being held.
International monitors had to cut short their visit with Delic last week in the Hotel Olympik in Pale because IFOR officers had arrived to hold a news conference. Bosnian Serb authorities were demanding the release of Serbs still being held by the Bosnian government in exchange for freeing Delic, U.N. officials said.
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