Suspected war criminal in Roanoke closer to extradition - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Suspected war criminal in Roanoke closer to extradition

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A suspect wanted for war crimes during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, moves one step closer to being sent back to Europe from Roanoke.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Virginia, federal Magistrate Judge Robert Ballou certified for extradition former prison guard Almaz Nezirovic, 54, of Roanoke, to Bosnia on Monday.

Investigators believe Nezirovic tortured Serb civilians detained at the Rabic camp, in the Derventa Municipality of Bosnia and Herzegovina between April-July 1992.  The investigation found Nezirovic joined a paramilitary group called the HVO in 1992.  After becoming a prison guard. Bosnian investigators claims Nezirovic beat, humiliated,, and traumatized unarmed civilian prisoners, hurting some of the prisoners severely.

Nezirovic's attorney, public defender Fay Spence, has said in court documents that he denies the charges.

The U.S. Government filed for extradition of Nezirovic in July of 2012, under the treaty America has with Bosnia, as well as the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

Since the federal court certified the extradition, the process next moves to Secretary of State John Kerry's office.  He will decide whether of not Nezirovic will be sent back.

(Information from the Associated Press was used in this story)