Trial of ‘terror Swede’ begins in Bosnia

The trial of the 19-year-old Mirsad Bektasevic, a Bosnian who spent most of his life in Sweden and has a Swedish passport, began on Monday in Sarajevo.

Bektasevic was arrested in Sarajevo last October after police entered his apartment and reportedly found a bomb belt, a gun, detonator, and a video cassette describing how to make a home-made bomb. He is also alleged to have purchased 20 kilograms of explosives.

Abdul Kadir Cesur, a 20-year-old Danish-born Turk, was also arrested at the time.

Bektasevic is charged with terrorism offences along with another man. A further three men are facing trial alongside him on related charges. The Swede has denied the Bosnian terror charges.

A voice on the confiscated tape, thought to be Bektasevic’s says, “These brothers are ready to attack and, God willing, they will attack the infidels who are killing our brothers and Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan. This weapon will be used against Europe, against those whose forces are in Iraq and Afghanistan,” the Toronto Star has reported.

The arrests triggered raids in London and Denmark, where nine others, including Younis Tsouli, a 22-year-old Moroccan, who became infamous on the Web and the cyber-terrorist network as “Irhabi007,” which means “Terrorist007” in Arabic, were arrested.

Bektasevic is also suspected of being the jihadist recruiter who used the name Maximus. Tsouli was reportedly in possession of Swedish a Bosnian telephone numbers that Maximus had used.

Petra Hansson, a spokeswoman for the Swedish foreign ministry, told The Local that the Swede was in court for Monday’s proceedings along with his four co-defendants.

“Today’s proceedings were a status hearing, at which the court decides how to proceed with the case. The hearing lasted about an hour,” she said.

She confirmed that Bektasevic was a Swedish citizen, and said he did not have dual citizenship “to the best of my knowledge.”

“We are staying in touch with his lawyer and he is receiving the normal consular visits,” she said. Hansson added that consular officials were monitoring the trial from within the court building.

The trial is now expected to be adjourned until 20th July, when prosecutors will present their case.