In case you’re unhappy with the Supreme Court’s decision this month to grant the Guantanamo detainees rights under the US constitution to challenge in federal courts their status as unlawful enemy combatants, you might be interested to know that the case was initiated by a mujahed who had fought “on our side” in Bosnia and married a Bosnian woman so he could stay on in Europe rather than return to Algeria.

That’s right. I just said all roads from the hell that’s broken loose in the world lead back to Bosnia. A 2005 UK Guardian article titled “It’s Not Only About Iraq” reported: “Tellingly, those who monitor Islamism in Britain say the big surge in growth of extremist groups came not after 9/11 or Iraq but in the mid-1990s, with Bosnia serving as the recruiting sergeant.”

So…in case Bosnia — and Kosovo — still don’t interest you, here’s that bit about the Algerian jihadist in Bosnia who just got a whole lot of foreign enemies some constitutional protection:

Bosnia investigates handover of alleged terrorists to US

Sarajevo - The Cantonal Court of Sarajevo confirmed Wednesday it launched an investigation into two former senior Bosnian officials, suspected of violating the country’s laws by handing over alleged terrorists to US authorities six years ago. The Cantonal Prosecutor Branko Sljivar said in a statement that the investigation would include Bosnia’s former prime minister and Social-Democratic Party (SDP) leader Zlatko Lagumdzija, his party colleague and former interior minister Tomislav Limov, as well as a number of employees of the city’s prison.

Six Bosnian citizens of Algerian origin, known as the Algerian Group, were arrested in Bosnia-Herzegovina in October 2001 under suspicion of planning possible terrorist activities against US and British diplomatic
missions in Bosnia. All were married to Bosnian women.

The arrest of Bensayah Belkacem, Mustafa Adir, Saber Lahmar, Mohammed Nehle, Lakdar Boumedien and Boudellah Hadz was conducted in a countrywide counter-terrorism operations after the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

Although Bosnia’s Supreme Court ordered their release, after finding no evidence of their alleged involvement in terrorist activities, then premier Lagumdzija ordered their arrest again in January 2002 and handed them over to the US authorities.

Prosecutor Sljivar, in his statement, said Lagumdzija and Limov were suspected of “handing over naturalized Bosnian citizens (of Algerian origin) to US authorities, based on ethnic differences of those people, who belong to the Semite group of peoples.”

The men were transported to the US’ Cuba-based Guantanamo military base, used as prison for the alleged terrorists, where they were believed to suffer difficult conditions and humiliation, without the basic conditions for normal life.

The investigation of the Sarajevo Cantonal Court coincided with the decision of the US Supreme Court earlier this month to give Guantanamo detainees possibility to challenge their detention in federal courts.

The case, known as “Boumedien versus Bush,” in which the court granted Guantanamo detainees rights under the US constitution to challenge their status as “unlawful enemy combatants,” was initiated by Lakdar Boumedien of Bosnia’s Algerian group.

Former soldiers fight to stay in Bosnia

Bosnia-Hercegovina is preparing to expel hundreds of Muslim former soldiers who went to the country in the early 1990s to fight for Bosnian government forces during the conflict.

“I came to help the people here,” says Aiman Awad, who could now be facing deportation.

“I am very sorry because this country is violating our human rights and breaking all the rules.”

When he took up arms in 1992, Mr Awad says he was promised citizenship. But a clause in the 1995 US-sponsored peace agreement stipulated that all “foreign fighters” - as they are known - must leave the country.

Amnesty International estimates that more than 660 have so far been stripped of their citizenship and that overall about 1,500 still live in Bosnia.

A further six, all originally from Algeria, have been in Guantanamo Bay since 2002.

“It is in the vital interest of Bosnia-Hercegovina to make absolutely clear to the world that there are no groups here that might be part of networks supporting terrorism,” says Miroslav Lajcak, a Slovak diplomat who is the internationally appointed High Representative, who has ultimate control in the country.

“The legal obligation is clear. Those people should be have been out of Bosnia many years ago.”

Aiman Awad is campaigning to stay in Bosnia with his friend Imad al-Husin who lives in a small apartment overlooking Mount Igman just outside Sarajevo.

Both men dress in black and sport closely shaved heads with long beards.

Sitting on the steps of their local mosque, they deny any connection to any terror group. “No, we haven’t,” says Imad al-Husin.

“The Bosnian people don’t want to throw us out,” says Aiman Awad. [Now that’s interesting.]

“It’s the politicians. They’re doing it because it’s good for their jobs.”

Thirteen years after the end of the war, Bosnia is now preparing to sign a key agreement to start the long process of joining the European Union, of which meeting “counter-terrorist” objectives is a key part.

The police, however, believe they are on top of the problem.

“The simple fact they came here to fight in the war does not now mean they are terrorists,” says Brig Gen Vincenzo Coppola, head of the EU police mission that oversees all of Bosnia’s police forces.

For centuries, Bosnia has been a frontier between Christian Europe and the Islamic East.

In the run-down suburb of Novi Grad, where apartment blocks remain pockmarked from the war, Nada Dizolaravic sorts through piles of documents collected while campaigning for her husband’s release from Guantanamo Bay.

Omar Boudella and five others, all originally from Algeria, were arrested on terror charges shortly after the 11 September 2001 attacks.

They were suspected of planning bomb attacks on the British and US embassies.

The Pentagon describes them as illegal enemy combatants, although none has yet been brought to trial.

“My husband isn’t a terrorist,” says Nada, shaking her head. “He worked for a humanitarian organisation. It’s very difficult to be a Muslim nowadays. The whole world is anti-Islamic.”

Let’s go over what the wife just said:

Set-up: “My husband isn’t a terrorist.”
Punch line: “He worked for a humanitarian organisation.”

Let’s look at just one little Reuters item from December 2002, which despite its brevity managed to mention three related things:

NATO Refuses to Hand Over Bosnia Terror Suspect

[Sabahudin] Fiuljanin was arrested on Oct. 26…and troops found an anti-tank weapon in his house…Last week, Bosnia banned three Islamic charities suspected of channeling funds for terrorism. In January, it extradited six Algerians detained on suspicion of links to al Qaeda…

As short as the above item was, it also managed to squeeze in the usual disclaimer:

Western officials are concerned that some Bosnians may be linked to radical Islamist movements, but stress the vast majority of Bosnian Muslims practice a moderate version of their faith.

But, like, Serbs practice an even more moderate version of Islam. It’s called not being Muslim. So if you still aren’t suspicious as to why we’ve taken every side against them — from Bosnians to Albanians to Nazis (aka Croatians) — then I hope your long-term coma isn’t draining the family resources too much.

One more time:

Set-up: “My husband isn’t a terrorist.”
Punch line: “He worked for a humanitarian organisation.”

BBC Monitoring International Reports - October 31, 2004

One of the most important financiers of the Al-Qa’idah international terrorist network is, by all appearances, also involved in various forms of organized crime in Bosnia-Hercegovina and other countries of Southeastern Europe. Saudi Arabian citizen Yasin Al-Qadi, whom the US authorities identified as one of the 12 leading Al-Qa’idah financiers….He is considered one of the ten richest people in the Arab world; he is a shareholder in banks worldwide, the chemical industry, the diamond trade and real estate, in addition to being a founder of several humanitarian organizations.

In addition to owning one-fifth of Vakufska banka, Al-Qadi also owns the Risala humanitarian organization in Sarajevo, a private elementary school located in the Bosnia-Hercegovina capital bearing the same name, in addition to being the owner and founder of the Euroinvest company of Sarajevo…

The Bosnia-Hercegovina authorities are investigating Al-Qadi’s assets alongside the foreign financial and legal experts. According to the information from Washington, Al-Qadi secured tens of million of dollars for the financing of terrorist activities worldwide through several humanitarian organizations. Zufer Dervisevic, head of the Bosnia-Hercegovina Federation Financial Police, told Kriminal NET that the Financial Police had for some time been investigating the Risala company located in the Sarajevo suburb of Grbavica. Vakufska banka confirmed that the Risala company had had an account in that bank but that the account had been blocked. “We blocked the company’s account. The investigation is still under way and what I can tell you is that there are more and more grounds for further investigation every day and that the network of suspects is growing. We do not know how much longer the investigation can go on,” Dervisevic said.

As US diplomats in Sarajevo told Kriminal NET, the United States identified a number of organizations that used to be or are still present in Bosnia-Hercegovina as terrorist organizations. Among the organizations suspected by the US authorities of having links with Al-Qa’idah, Usamah Bin-Ladin and the Afghan Taleban are the Bosnian branch of Al Haramayn and Al Masjid Al-Aqsa Charity Foundation, Vazir, a successor of the Bosnian Haramayn office, the Bosnian branch of Taibah International, Benevolence International Foundation that was active in Bosnia-Hercegovina, Global Relief Foundation that was active in Bosnia-Hercegovina, Bosniak Al Furqan organization, and two of its successor organizations, Sirat and Istikhanet.

The extensive investigation in Bosnia-Hercegovina on the financing of terrorist organizations will definitely go on for months and over 30m convertible marks have been blocked so far in accounts of humanitarian organizations in Bosnia-Hercegovina. However, it is believed that the financial transactions that were really conducted from Bosnia-Hercegovina through those organizations, companies and banks are much more substantial than that.

Also, from author of Islamic Terror in the Balkans, Shaul Shay:

After 9/11, when the US started examining the financing of terror organizations, it discovered that many of the Islamic charities that operated during and after the war in the Balkans were channeling “terror” money . A big chunk of that money that was supposed to be used for humanitarian purposes went to finance those [Islamic terror] infrastructures.

And from the Bosniain newspaper Oslobodjenje, via BBC Monitoring Europe, Dec. 13, 2006: Bosnian security forces raid humanitarian agencies in Sarajevo:

Members of the Support Unit and the Financial Fraud Investigation Department of SIPA [State Investigation and Protection Agency] on Tuesday [12 December] morning raided premises at several locations in Sarajevo, SIPA officials have confirmed to us. One of the raided premises is located at 15 Lukavicka Street in Sarajevo’s suburb of Nedzarici. We have unofficially learned that it was a Kuwaiti humanitarian organization.

Inspectors of the Financial Intelligence Department of SIPA and the Financial Police are monitoring cash flows between banks, as well as money flows from Islamic countries to Bosnia-Hercegovina. The Financial Intelligence Department of SIPA has requested the assistance of the special police because the Kuwaiti humanitarian organization in Nedzarici is run by Wahhabis.

Following a UN decision, several humanitarian organizations in Bosnia-Hercegovina have been closed down for providing assistance to terrorist suspects. These are: Al-Haramain, Al-Haramain International in Sarajevo, Travnik-based Vezir, Ibili, Bosanska Idealna Futura, Al-Axa, and Isti Kamet in Zenica.