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Bosnia strips citizenship from Muslim fighters

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    Bosnia strips citizenship from Muslim fighters Peter Popham http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/article2578472.ece When Bosnia was being carved up between
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 3, 2007
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      Bosnia strips citizenship from Muslim fighters
      Peter Popham
      http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/article2578472.ece


      When Bosnia was being carved up between Serbian and Croatian militias
      and the West's involvement was limited to sending "peacekeepers" to
      watch it happen, volunteers from the Islamic world were the only
      force fighting alongside the Bosniacs to keep the Muslim-majority
      state intact.

      They came from Turkey, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere, and
      were rewarded with Bosnian nationality by the government of Ali
      Isetbegovic. But now the government is to strip hundreds of the
      former mujahedin of their nationality and send them back to their
      countries of origin, even though they are no longer citizens there.

      The Bosnian parliament has adopted a law empowering a commission to
      investigate naturalisations effected between the outbreak of war in
      April 1992 and January 2006. It is looking into the cases of 1,500
      people, and has already stripped citizenship from 488 of them.
      Decisions may be appealed against, but if the appeal is lost,
      deportation is automatic.

      Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Bosnian branch of
      the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights have all written to the
      Bosnian government protesting against the action and urging it not to
      proceed with the deportations, warning that those deported face
      possible arrest on their return to their countries of origin.

      The head of the commission, Vjekoslav Vukovic, insisted that the
      process was based strictly on legal criteria. "We look at a lot of
      the documentation from that time," he said. "We look at empty files,
      we find false documents, false records."

      He said that even if deportees lost their appeals, they had the right
      to reapply for Bosnian residency from their countries of origin. But
      those who face being uprooted from the homes they have made with
      local women were in no doubt that pressure from the United States was
      behind the purge. "They are being expelled because they're Arabs,
      because they're Muslims, and they came here to help us," said Mustafa
      Ceric, the leader of Bosnia's Muslims.

      But there are tensions with the local population. "According to
      normal people we didn't need them, even during wartime," Mirsad
      Fazlic, a local journalist, told the BBC. "And we specially don't
      need them now."

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