BOSTON, June 15 (AP) — A former guard at a notoriously brutal and violent prison camp in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been indicted by a federal grand jury for lying about obtaining refugee status, prosecutors said. identity and eventually his U.S. citizenship.
Kemal Mrndzic, 51, of Boston area, charged with using a fraudulently obtained U.S. passport; possessing and using a fraudulent naturalization card, fraudulent Social Security card; making false statements to federal law enforcement agents; U.S. Attorney in Boston His office said in a statement Wednesday that he was involved in a scheme to cover up his involvement in the persecution during the Bosnian War.
On Thursday, Mrndzic’s attorneys received an email and voicemail seeking comment. A listed phone number for Mrndzic, who lives in Swampscott, north of Boston, is no longer in use.
He will appear in court at a later date.
“Immigration to the United States is a privilege, and if you conceal a criminal act to deceive yourself into this country, you will eventually be found out,” Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua Levy for the District of Massachusetts said in a statement.
During the Bosnian War in the 1990s, Mrndzic was the chief of security at the Celebici prisoner-of-war camp, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
The United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia found that guards at the camp killed, sexually assaulted and tortured Serbian prisoners, and three former guards were indicted and convicted for their involvement in the persecution, prosecutors said.
Since then, many survivors have found Mnjic involved in beatings and other abuse at the camp, prosecutors said.
“Prison conditions in Celebici were exceptionally harsh,” said the testimony of a Department of Homeland Security investigator.
“For months, hundreds of prisoners were forced to sit side by side on the concrete floor of a large metal hangar. They slept on the same concrete floor without blankets or bedding.”
“Dozens of other prisoners were forced into a long, unlit underground tunnel where they sat shoulder to shoulder on the concrete floor,” the affidavit said.
“The tunnel wasn’t wide enough to stand upright at night, and it was so crowded that if one person turned over, everyone around him had to turn over.”
Mnjic was interrogated by the court after the war, but fled to Croatia, and falsely claimed in the interview and application that he was captured and abused by the Serbian army, and that he could not return home for fear of future persecution, so he fled to Croatia as a refugee application to the United States, prosecutors said.
He entered the United States as a refugee in 1999 and was granted U.S. citizenship in 2009, authorities said.
Mrndzic was arrested in May and released on $30,000 bond. (Associated Press)
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