The arrest of the Chief of Bosnia’s intelligence agency, Osman Mehmedagic, is nonsense, knowing that all major foreign services are praising the work of Bosnia’s agency ever since Mehmedagic took over as Director, Salko Zildic, a prominent Democratic Action Party (SDA) member form Tuzla, said during Thursday’s protest against Mehmedagic’s arrest.
The protestors who gathered in front of the BiH Prosecution said they came there in support of the Director of Bosnia’s Intelligence and Security Agency (OSA), adding that all people must be equal before the law.
“First, we had the failed trial, where all the people who followed it saw that it was a show for the public. When that failed then this arrest followed which is nonsense. On the other hand, those who follow the events in the country see that in the last three or four years, all foreign agencies give praise for the work of the OSA led by Mehmedagic, while the public is being served a story about university diplomas on the one hand, and then we have the cover-up of various scandals. I think that it is clear even to a small child that this is the plan of Milorad Dodik and Dragan Covic,” said Zildzic, noting that this gathering has nothing to do with the SDA and that this is a personal response to abnormal events.
Former BiH Ambassador to Australia Mirza Hajric also joined the citizens in front of the Prosecutor's Office of BiH saying that he spent the war and post-war years with Mehmedagić in the office of the former President of BiH, Alija Izetbegovic.
“These are unbreakable ties and I had to be here today. Let the Prosecutor's Office of BiH investigate, I do not dispute that, but the possible questionable validity of the diploma is not a reason for an arrest. It should be known that Osman Mehmedagić was arrested by the Sarajevo police yesterday, after which he spent the night in the detention unit, and early this morning he was handed over to the jurisdiction of the Prosecutor's Office of BiH, which will decide on further measures. We have the fact that Dragan Mektic (former BiH Security Minister) said that they have been checking his diploma for five years, during which time he was not arrested. Then why is this happening now?” Hajric asked.
The protest was also joined by Fikret Pljevljak the former SDA official and a candidate for the head of the Ilidza Municipality.
A rally in support of the arrested Osman Mehmedagic was held in Mostar as well. Protesters gathered at 9:30 am at the same time as protesters in front of the BiH Prosecutor's Office in Sarajevo.
Both protests were organized by an informal group of citizens, and as those present pointed out, this gathering was held to send a message to Osman Mehmedagic that they are with him and that they support him.
“OSA is the pillar of the state! Stop to the Political Prosecutor's Office,” read one of the banners in Mostar.
Muhamed Taslidza, from the Regional Alliance of the Patriotic League, told N1 that they sent a clear message that this arrest is a classic coup d'etat against the institutions of BiH.
“This is one in a series of attempts to destroy the entire system and deny the personnel from the ranks of the Bosniak people. This is the bottom line and after this, there is nothing left for the people but to find a way to defend the state democratically, or if that is not the case, we only have arms left to defend it with. We condemn the man (Mehmedagić) for certain things and as an institution because he reacts to certain changes that are left aside in the Prosecutor's Office and the judiciary, and in general, the people are accused over trifles. We look for flaws because a man has big ears, not because someone denies the state. Therefore, it is clear that this system is not working because of the negators who receive a salary from this state,” Taslidza said.
Police in Sarajevo detained on Wednesday the director of Bosnia’s Intelligence-Security Agency (OSA), Osman Mehmedagic, whom prosecutors suspect of abuse of office, document fraud and money laundering.
According to Sarajevo Canton Interior Ministry (MUP KS) Spokesperson, Mirza Hadziabdic, the police operation comes as part of an investigation regarding the validity of his university diploma, while the money laundering suspicions are related to the purchase of a house in Sarajevo.
The director of the American University in Tuzla, Denis Prcic, was also recently arrested over the case of Mehmedagic's diploma, as he is suspected of “aiding a perpetrator” after a crime was committed.