Bosnian woman acquitted of financing terrorism in Syria and Iraq

Sena Hamzabegovic. Photo: Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Sena Hamzabegovic was acquitted by the Bosnian State Court for having participated, between 2013 and 2018, in the collection and delivery of financial aid to Bosnian citizens on foreign battlefronts in Syria and Iraq, even though she knew they were fighting for the so-called ISIL, including Jahbet al-Nusra, the Al-Nusrah Front and other proclaimed terrorist organizations.

Hamzabegovic reportedly traveled to Syria several times, knowing that her husband, Muradif Hamzabegovic, who had been involved in terrorist activities with other Bosnian citizens, was there and used the money to finance these activities.

She had repeatedly collected around 230,000 Bosnian marks through euro, mark and Swiss franc accounts, which she handed over to her husband.

Trial chamber president Branko Peric ended the restraining orders imposed on her in November 2021, when she was released. Her passport was also returned to her and she was exempted from trial costs.

Judge Peric said the key question was whether the defendant knew what the money she had withdrawn and given to her husband was used for.

“Here we have the case of a wife disposing of her husband’s money on the basis of an authorization, the money coming from the sale of a property. She did not know that the money that ended up in the hands of Muradif Hamzabegovic would be used to finance terrorist activities,” Peric said.

According to him, she admitted to having left money in various places chosen by Muradif, such as under a carpet or in a gym. It was then taken over by third parties who brought it to Hamzabegovic.

This fact could be important if the defendant knew what the money was for. But in the House’s assessment, Peric said, the accusation that she had “raised” funds had not been proven. “If she had collected donations and funds from third parties, it could be called ‘fundraising,'” Judge Peric said.

He said the defense admitted that the defendant traveled three times to see her husband in Syria and that she obtained permission from her husband to dispose of the money from real estate.

Peric said it was indisputable that Muradif Hamzabegovic stayed in Syria and bought buildings there, as witnesses also confirmed, and that was the first thing to be determined, along with Muradif’s affiliation. to ISIL – but there was no evidence that his wife had raised funds and knew they would be used to finance terrorist activities. The parties can appeal.

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