Seven Bosnian jihadists sent to prison

Terrorism court in Sarajevo sentences seven Bosnian jihadists to prison for having joined ISIS.

Ben Ariel ,

ISIS flag
ISIS flag

A court in Sarajevo which deals with terrorism cases on Monday sentenced seven Bosnian jihadists to up to three years in prison for having joined the Islamic State (ISIS) group in Syria, AFP reports.

"These men were found guilty of having left Bosnia in 2013 and 2014 and joining the ranks of the Islamic State terrorist organization," said judge Mirsad Strika, reading the verdict.

"They participated in terrorist activities, they admitted to have been on Syria's territory and that their goal was to fight the regime of Bashar Al-Assad," Strika said, in reference to the Syrian president.

The first defendant Enes Mesic, jailed for three years, is considered a particularly radical Islamist belonging to the hardline Wahhabi community in Bosnia's northeastern village of Dubnica.

Out of the seven convicted jihadists, only Ibro Delic, sentenced to a 23-month jail term, was in the court to hear the verdict.

The others, all under house arrest, were represented by their lawyers, according to AFP.

Two defendants, each sentenced to 22 months in jail, were also found guilty of illegal possession of arms, including an automatic rifle and a dozen hand grenades.

Bosnia is one of many countries that have had to deal with radicalization by locals who go to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside ISIS before returning to their home countries.

While the departures of Bosnians to Syria and Iraq have nearly stopped, some 200 people were still there in mid-2016, out of a total 330 that had left, according to authorities and official figures.

Around 40 people have been killed while some 50 have returned to Bosnia.

The country has several times arrested the ISIS recruits before they were able to leave.

A radical Bosnian Islamic leader, Husein Bosnic, sentenced by a local court in 2015 to seven years in prison, has received the most severe punishment in Bosnia so far among those charged with having fought alongside jihadists in Syria and Iraq.

Bosnic pleaded not guilty in 2015 to charges of inciting terrorism.