Indicted Former Bosnian Minister Vanishes

Published: 21 December 2016

ktsarajevoThe Sarajevo prosecutors' office building (Photo:

By Igor Spaic

A former interior minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina charged in November with fraud vanished Tuesday after being released from pretrial detention earlier this month, local media reported.

Alija Delimustafic, who served during the country’s 1992-1995 war, was detained on Nov. 11 for being the leader of a group that allegedly used corrupt court rulings to take control of abandoned properties and resell them via proxy companies.

Delimustafic was among at least 17 people detained in the case. Also charged was Juso Skrijelj, a bodyguard of former Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic, who also went missing Tuesday.

Delimustafic and Skrijelj were released from detention on December 9 after judges denied a request by prosecutors to extend the pretrial detention of them and two others accused by two months. The decision was made despite police finding a fake passport and a plane ticket to Thailand at the time of Delimustafic’s arrest.

A different set of judges reversed the opinion on appeal Tuesday, but when police went to pick up Delimustafic and Skrijelj, neither man was at home.

“The thing we emphasized might happen from the moment the court decided to release them has happened. This means (Delimustafic and Skrijelj) are out of reach of authorities,” Sarajevo County Prosecutors' Office spokesperson Azra Bavcic told local media.

The two other accused whose detention was ruled on along with Delimustafic and Skrijelj were found and taken in by authorities.

Another suspect considered to be a key figure in the group, former Sarajevo municipal court judge Lejla Fazlagic, has fled to Croatia.