Bosnian Muslims "play a significant role" in Al-Qa'idah cells - ex-officer
BBC Monitoring Europe (Political) - January 20, 2009 Tuesday

Text of report by Serbian newspaper Politika website on 14 January

[Report by Boro Maric, Dorotea Carnic: "Repentant Terrorist Wants To Go To Serbia"]

Ali Hamad

The Serbian war crimes prosecutor's office has expressed an interest in the case of former Al-Qa'idah officer and El Mujahid unit member Ali Hamad, who is seeking temporary residence in Serbia.

The Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor's office has been trying to shed light on events that the former Al-Qa'idah officer from Bahrain, Ali Hamad, mentioned in his testimony, when he announced his readiness to talk about crimes committed by Allah's warriors during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina [B-H].

"We are eager to hear Ali Hamad's testimony. If he provides us with evidence, we might have a case," Bruno Vekaric, spokesman of the War Crimes Prosecutor's office, has told Politika.

Ali Ahmad Ali Hamad (38), former Al-Qa'idah officer and commander of a platoon within the El Mujahid unit, whose nom de guerre was Abu Ubayda, confirmed in a statement for our daily yesterday that he had dropped his appeal against his deportation from B-H. In a telephone conversation, he said that he did not want to stay in B-H under any circumstances because, in his words, "it is a country that does not observe its own laws." Therefore he is seeking a temporary haven in Serbia. Ali Hamad is currently in the B-H Immigration Centre based in Eastern Sarajevo, where he is awaiting his deportation from B-H.

Ali Hamad is a repentant terrorist. He testified before the Hague tribunal's Trial Chamber against B-H Army Chief of Staff Gen. Rasim Delic and told the prosecution everything he knew about the mujahidin crimes and their links to Bosniak [Bosnian Muslim] politicians and military. Some of his testimonies previously given to the former Bosniak intelligence agency, the Investigation and Documentation Agency, made possible the relocation of mass graves on Mt. Ozren, where Serb soldiers and civilians were buried.

"I have asked for permission to leave for Serbia and temporary reside there. For the time being I do not intend to seek asylum in Serbia. If Serbia approves my entry and if I decide not to stay there, I would like to go back home to Bahrain. In that case, I would not return to my homeland as a deported person who has had a number of problems with police, but as a free man," Ali Hamad has told us.

He believes that Serbian authorities will be keen to hear what he knows about war crimes committed by the mujahidin against Serbs and Croats during the war in B-H.

Ali Hamad caught the B-H public's attention when he publicly spoke out about the role of the Al-Qa'idah terrorist network in the B-H war and mujahidin crimes. He told Germany's Der Spiegel that Al-Qa'idah's leader Usamah bin Laden had not sent his warriors to B-H because he was so concerned about the fate of the Bosnian Muslims, but primarily to set up a base for terrorist actions in Europe. He repeated this claim in his testimony against Rasim Delic as well. Even today he insists that Al-Qa'idah's cells are active in B-H and that B-H Muslims play a significant role in those cells.

Ali Hamad fell prey to Al-Qa'idah as a 17 year old boy because of family problems. He completed his military training in the (Kulijet Dzaver el Askarije?) camp in Afghanistan, where he fought against former Soviet troops. He arrived to B-H in 1992 via Frankfurt, Zagreb and Split. At first, he fought with the El Mujahid unit as a soldier and then he became a platoon commander. After the war he was convicted to 12 years' imprisonment because of his role in a car-bomb attack on the Croatian part of Mostar in 1997. He continues to insist even today that he never took part in that bombing incident. He definitely turned his back on Usamah bin Laden and Al-Qa'idah in September 2001, following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade centre and the Pentagon. Since then he has been an active antiterrorist campaigner.

Source: Politika website, Belgrade, in Serbian 14 Jan 09
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