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Plavsic's Request for Pardon Denied

Swedish authorities give no reason for refusing her release from jail.
By Merdijana Sadović
The Swedish government this week rejected the former Bosnian Serb president’s request to be released from a prison where she’s been serving her sentence for war crimes.

Biljana Plavsic, one of the leading figures in the Bosnian Serb government during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war, was convicted in 2003 by the Hague tribunal for crimes against humanity and sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Plavsic is the only woman to be convicted by the tribunal for war crimes.

She’s currently serving her sentence at Hinseberg prison, some 200 kilometres west of Stockholm. In 1999, Sweden signed an agreement with the Hague court to offer prison space for convicted war criminals.

Plavsic, 78, is due to be released in 2013. In June this year, she appealed for a pardon citing old age and health reasons.

This is the second time Plavsic has asked for a pardon. In her previous request in 2004 – which was also rejected – she complained about the conditions in the Swedish prison and also cited her poor health.

In a statement issued on December 4, the Swedish government did not say why Plavsic’s appeal had been rejected.

Merdijana Sadovic is IWPR’s Hague tribunal manager.

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