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Federal Public Defender assigned to alleged war criminal arrested in Utica

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - A federal judge in Syracuse has assigned a Federal Public Defender for the Northern District of New York to represent accused Bosnian war criminal Sulejman Mujagic.

Utica and other local police and federal agents raided Mujagic's South Street home 5:30 Wednesday morning, taking the alleged war criminal out in handcuffs. Mujagic is a legal, permanent resident of the United States and has been living in Utica since 1997.

His capture marks the high point of a four-year investigation into Mujagic's whereabouts. Federal agents with Homeland Security Investigations and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have been to Utica several times during that time period. But the actual legal document required to take Mujagic into custody didn't materialize until this summer.

The alleged crimes happened while Mujagic was commanding a platoon in the Army of the Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia. He's accused of shooting a Bosnian prisoner of war at point-blank range with an AK-47, killing him, and shooting another prisoner of war repeatedly as the injured man tried to crawl up a hill. That man survived. Federal authorities say this took place during a battle on March 6, 1995.

Mujagic is being held in the Cayuga County Correctional Facility. He's due in federal court Monday, December 3, for a detention hearing. He awaits a potentially lengthy extradition process to Bosnia, where he will ultimately be tried for unlawful killing of the enemy and unlawful wounding and torture of a prisoner of war.

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