Wednesday, June 25, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (June 25,2008) - The Cantonal Court of Sarajevo confirmed today it launched an investigation into two former senior Bosnian officials, suspected of violating the country's laws by handing over six Bosnian citizens 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.

The court said Lagumdzija and Limov might be charged with illegal deprivation of liberty and violation of the principle of equal rights of all citizens.

Six Bosnian citizens of Algerian origin,Bensayah Belkacem, Mustafa Adir, Saber Lahmar, Mohammed Nehle, Lakdar Boumedien and Boudellah Hadz, known as the Algerian Group, were arrested in Bosnia in October 2001 under suspicion of planning possible attacks against US and British diplomatic missions in Bosnia. All were married to Bosnian women.

Although the Bosnian 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."

"With no reason and without any judicial decision or any other decision of a state institution to prevent the free movement of the group, they were detained, kept in detention for some time and then extradited to US authorities without a legal decision of a local court on extradition," according to the statement.

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

Handing over the group to the US, where the death punishment is still in force, Lagumdzija and Limov had also violated the Bosnian Constitution and a number of human rights granted by the state laws in accordance with the European standards.

The court also mentioned neglect of the authorities towards the families of the Algerian group.

Soon after her Boudellah Hadz was extradited to the US and sent to Guantanamo Bay, his daughter Sejma died of acute heart weakness.

Her family did not have money for the lifesaving heart treatment she needed, according to the statement.

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.


TEHRAN, Iran (June 25,2008) – Bosnia and Iran signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Tehran in order to broaden their trade and economic ties through participation in each others’ exhibitions.The Memorandum of Understanding was inked by Iran’s International Exhibitions Company director, Mohammad Javad Salari and his Bosnian counterpart.

Salari expressed hope that expanding expo trade between Bosnia and Iran would contribute in bolstering bilateral economic ties.

“Signing such cooperation agreements will lay the grounds for active participation of Iranian companies in Bosnian international fairs and will showcase their capabilities,” he said.

The Bosnian official, for his part, noted that boosting expo trade could pave the way for stronger bilateral economic cooperation.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (June 25,2008) - Southeast Europe will face a severe electricity shortage in coming years that could cause economic growth in the region to slow significantly, leading energy experts warned.

They blamed government subsidies,which have kept electricity prices artificially low,for the soaring growth in consumption, while little has been done to step up production or offer alternative sources of energy.

Studies by KPMG, a leading financial management consultancy, and the European Stability Initiative, an independent research institute based in Berlin, found that significant investments would be needed in energy generation and infrastructure in Southeast Europe in coming years to overcome decades of neglect.

Currently, half-a-dozen power plants are being built or expanded in Bosnia,Bulgaria, Romania and Slovenia. But even if they all come on line as planned by 2015, their combined output will be less than half the anticipated growth in consumption.

The €800 million ($1.2 billion) Stanari thermal power plant in Bosnia is the first new generating facility in the southeastern Europe in three decades. It will have an installed capacity of 420 megawatts.

Analysts say annual growth of energy consumption in the southeastern Europe, comprising a dozen countries with a combined population of 73 million people,averages nearly four percent, pushed up by strong economic growth and improving living standards.

But the region has a combined installed electrical power of about 76 gigawatts, barely enough to fulfill current requirements.

"The stability of electrical supply in the region is becoming dangerously overstressed," said Sijka Pistolova, the editor of the Balkan Energy Observer, a trade publication.

She said that the immediate reason for this was the closure last year of two units of Bulgaria's nuclear plant at Kozlodui — as part of that nation's requirements to join the European Union.

Until then, Bulgaria could always make up for shortages elsewhere. Although Romania's Cernavoda nuclear plant is being expanded, it will not be able to compensate for that loss, she said.

The region has large unexploited hydropower potential and the largest lignite coal reserves in Europe.

But Pistolova noted that a general lack of investment and the damage caused by the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s , which destroyed large parts of the transmission grids ,had disrupted investment in power generation.

Within 2-3 years, this could result in daily, hours-long power cuts in some countries, she warned. Nations like Albania, Macedonia and Greece already barely meet their needs.

A possible remedy for future shortfalls could be to increase imports from countries which have large surpluses, such as Russia. But analysts noted that this too would require investments in transmission grids from the east.

The European Union has been reluctant to help develop such infrastructure, fearing it would lead to increased energy dependence on Russia.


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (June 25,2008) - A high school and a hospital built in a quake-hit area of Azad Jammu and Kashmir by the Bosnian government from donations made by the people of Bosnia will soon be inaugurated, said the Bosnian Ambassador to Pakistan Damir Dzanko.

The Bosnian Ambassador said both the projects had been completed with the help of funds donated by the people of Bosnia as a token of solidarity with Pakistan in an hour of difficulty.

He said the funds for the school were donated by the Bosnian schoolchildren falling in the age brackets of seven to twelve. He said these schoolchildren asked their government to build a school for their peers in the quake-hit areas of Pakistan.

Dzanko said the funds for the BHU were arranged by the Bosnian doctors, who had visited Pakistan soon after quake and treated victims. “When they went back, the 44-member team of doctors decided to contribute 50 per cent of their salaries to the construction of a hospital,” he said.

The Ambassador said Bosnian government also contributed to the construction of hospital, as the donations made by the doctors were not sufficient but they spearheaded the move to build the health facility.

He said the people of Bosnia still remembered the help Pakistan provided them during the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions agaist Bosnia.

To a question, he said Bosnians had overcome their initial problems and were moving forward as a nation. He said Bosnia’s economy was developing at a rate of nearly 6 per cent.