A woman who was arrested in Kentucky this week and accused of war crimes during the Bosnian civil war made her first appearance in federal court in Lexington on Thursday.
Azra Bašic, who was arrested Tuesday in Stanton, appeared Thursday morning in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert E. Wier, who set an April 1 status hearing for Bašic. At that hearing, the court will decide when to hold an extradition hearing for her.
According to court documents, Bašic is accused of torturing and murdering ethnic Serbs at prison camps from April to June 1992.
Bosnia and Herzegovina officials want Bašic returned to that country to stand trial. She was arrested Tuesday by the U.S. Marshals Service.
In court Thursday, Bašic provided a few more details about her time in Kentucky, saying she had been working at a Nestle plant for about two years. She told the judge she made $12.25 an hour at the plant.
Also on Thursday, Patrick Nash was appointed as the attorney for Bašic.
Documents filed in U.S. District Court in Lexington detail gruesome acts of torture and murder alleged to have been committed by Bašic while she apparently was a commander in a Croatian army brigade.
Witnesses Radojica Garic and Dragan Kovacevic said Bašic murdered Blagoje Djuras, who had been beaten unconscious by Croatian police and soldiers, by slitting his throat with a knife, according to a court document.
"After that, Azra took us by the hair and dragged us to the wound on the neck from which the blood ran and made us drink that blood," Garic said.
Sreten Jovanovic testified that he was forced to drink gasoline, beaten unconscious, and Bašic set his hands and face on fire, according to the court document.
The International Criminal Police Organization, commonly known as Interpol, located Bašic in Eastern Kentucky in 2004. A district court in Bosnia and Herzegovina issued an international arrest warrant for her in October 2006. The U.S. received a formal request to extradite Bašic to Bosnia and Herzegovina in February 2007.
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