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US judge strips citizenship of ex-Bosnian Muslim woman convicted of war crimes

A judge's gavel. (Dreamstime/TNS)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

A U.S. judge has revoked the U.S. citizenship of a Bosnian-born Muslim woman who allegedly concealed her involvement in war crimes during the wars of the early 1990s in the former Yugoslavia.

The Justice Department said on March 5 that Judge Marco Hernandez had stripped Sammy Rasema Yetisen of her citizenship on March 1.

U.S. authorities said Yetisen, also known as Rasema Handanovic or Zolja, was part of an elite unit of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina that attacked the village of Trusina on April 16, 1993.

They said the attack, which became known as the Trusina massacre, targeted Bosnian Croats who resided in the village “because of their Christian religion and Croat ethnicity.”

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Yetisen was admitted to the United States as a refugee, and became a naturalized citizen in 2002, as did another Bosnian man, Edin Dzeko.

After allegations of their involvement in the Trusina killings came to light, Dzeko and Yetisen were extradited to Bosnia and convicted in a war crimes court. She was the first woman convicted by a Bosnian court of war crimes.

Yetisen cooperated with authorities, testifying against Dzeko. She was released after serving 5 1/2 years in a Bosnian prison and then moved to the U.S. state of Oregon.

Dzeko, who was convicted in 2014, remains in a Sarajevo prison where he is serving a 13-year sentence.

Bosnia’s war resulted in the death of an estimated 100,000 people and the displacement of 2.6 million.