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Ky. woman accused of Bosnian war crimes

Associated Press / March 18, 2011

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A woman who served in the Croatian army faces extradition from a small Kentucky town to face charges that she forced prisoners to drink human blood and gasoline during the bloody aftermath of the breakup of Yugoslavia.

US Marshals arrested Azra Basic, 52, on Tuesday in Stanton, about 45 miles east of Lexington, where she lives and works at the nearby Nestle Prepared Foods plant. She has lived in Kentucky for several years, but it is not clear how she wound up in the rural city.

Born in Croatia, Basic is wanted in Bosnia on charges of committing war crimes against ethnic Serb civilians in 1992, including acts of murder and torture, Assistant US Attorney James Arehart wrote in a complaint requesting extradition.

Arehart said Bosnian authorities accuse Basic of killing at least one person and torturing others at three camps from April to June 1992, during Europe’s bloodiest conflict since World War II.

Witnesses said Basic forced one man to drink gasoline, another to drink human blood, and carved crosses into the flesh of a third man.

US Magistrate Judge Robert E. Wier ordered Basic held in federal custody without bond pending an April 1 status hearing. Prosecutors argued that no bail amount would guarantee Basic’s presence in court.

Basic’s attorney, Patrick Nash of Lexington, said yesterday that he plans to request bail. “I’m still getting my arms around this case,’’ said Nash, who was appointed by the court.

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