Bosnia president freed from jail

Budimir left the prison in the southern town of Mostar and was welcomed by dozens of supporters and relatives.

Bosnia president freed from jail

World Bulletin/News Desk

The president of Bosnia's autonomous Muslim-Croat federation was freed from jail on Friday after the Constitutional Court ordered his release following his arrest last month on corruption charges.

President Zivko Budimir was arrested along with 19 other officials in late April alleged corruption case in Bosnia since independence more than two decades ago.

A court ordered Budimir and his four co-accused aides to be kept in detention because some of them held Croatian passports and there was a risk they might try to flee.

But on Friday, acting on the order from the Constitutional Court, the court decided to release all five accused immediately, a court spokeswoman said. She added that prosecutors could appeal the ruling.

Budimir left the prison in the southern town of Mostar late on Friday and was welcomed by dozens of supporters and relatives. He has been charged with accepting bribes to grant amnesty to a number of convicts.

"I have no knowledge about the existence of an organised criminal group," he told state television. "As for amnesties, I granted them in accordance to my consciousness."

Budimir's lawyer Ragib Hadzic said the court had determined there were no grounds to keep him in custody while the investigation was underway.

The arrest of Budimir has exacerbated a political crisis that blew up last year when he refused to approve a Federation government reshuffle and the appointment of judges to the Constitutional Court.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Friday that it would disburse the next tranche of a 400-million-euro loan to Bosnia only after Budimir signs a law cutting military pensions.

Under the deal that ended Bosnia's 1992-95 war, the country was split into a Muslim-Croat Federation and a Serb Republic that are held together by a relatively weak central government.

Last Mod: 25 Mayıs 2013, 11:27
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