Bin Laden Was Granted Bosnian Passport

by | Sep 24, 1999 | Fair Use Articles

Agence France Presse – September 24, 1999


Osama bin Laden, the Saudi billionaire wanted by the United States for organizing bloody terrorist attacks, was granted a Bosnian passport in 1993 by the country’s [i.e., Bosnia]embassy in Vienna, an independent weekly reported Friday.

“The Bosnian embassy in Vienna granted a passport to bin Laden in 1993,” Dani magazine said, quoting anonymous sources, emphasizing that files and traces linked to his case have recently been destroyed by the [Bosnian] government.

“However, Bin Laden ‘did not personally collect his Bosnian passport,” Dani said, without elaborating or explicitly stating that his passport was ever collected.

“High Muslim officials of the Bosnian foreign ministry agreed that it [the destruction of files linked to bin Laden] was the top priority. It was even more important than investigating a person responsible for granting a passport to the most wanted terrorist in the world,” Dani reported.

According to the article, Muslim political circles claim that six years ago officials at the Bosnian embassy in Vienna could not have known who bin Laden was.

“During the 1992-1995 Bosnia’s war, the Vienna embassy has been ‘making contacts with many Arab-world people seeking aid” for the mainly Muslim Bosnian army, the article said.

“The foreign ministry issued no comments on the article. Bin Laden, believed to be in Afghanistan, is accused by the United States of masterminding bloody bomb attacks against its embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in August of last year. Over 200 people were killed in these attacks. Washington has offered a reward of five million dollars for information leading to his arrest.

Earlier this week the Bosnian government confirmed it had granted citizenship and passport to a Tunisian-born senior aide of bin-Laden in 1997. The government said citizenship was given to Mahrez Amduni, known in Sarajevo as Mehrez Amdouni, on the basis of his Bosnian army membership, stressing that there was no Interpol arrest warrant against him at that time.

Amduni was arrested by Turkish police at Istanbul airport on September 13, in an operation in which Interpol also took part.

During the Bosnia 1992-95 war some Islamic fighters battled alongside Muslim soldiers in central Bosnia against Bosnian Serbs and Croats. Most of them left the country after a US-brokered peace deal was signed in 1995. Some of them gained Bosnian citizenship as members of the Bosnian army or by marrying Bosnian women.

The government has never revealed how many foreign fighters were granted Bosnian citizenship.

Copyright 1999 Agence France Presse

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