Esed Radeljaš, a former minister and a counselor on trial before the Cantonal Court in Sarajevo on several charges, has been released today.
A panel of judges reached a decision after a medical expert witness Ibrahim Gavrankapetanović gave his testimony. Gavrankapetanović said that jail conditions could worsen Radeljaš’s health condition and cause cardiac arrest and death. „Stress that is endemic in jail coupled with hypertension and diabetes that the detainee already has could have fatal consequences,” said Gavrankapetanović.
The defendant’s attorney Muhidin Kapo asked the panel of judges to release Radeljaš form jail.
“The expert witness concluded that my defendant’s life is in danger. The European Convention on Human Rights, article 2, protects the right to life. My client’s rights are infringed while in jail and it is necessary to release him.”
Sarajevo Canton prosecutor Senad Osmić objected saying that “health condition can be a reason for release from jail only if an adequate medical assistance cannot be provided”.
The panel of judges presided by Jasenko Ružić has granted the defendant the release based on the expert witness’s opinion and the European Convention on Human Rights.
Radeljaš’s political career started in 2008, when he won a term in Novi Grad Sarajevo Municipal Council as the representative of Bosnian Party. Two years later, he was a legislator at the Sarajevo Canton Assembly. His last appointment was the minister of industry in Bosnia Podrinje Canton. He was also the president of the Board of Directors of Sarajevo Canton Health Insurance Bureau.
He was arrested in November 2016 and charged with abuse of office, money laundering, certification of untrue content and giving bribes. His co-defendants are a former mayor of Novi Grad municipality, Damir Hadžić and municipal staffers Jasmina Horo, Nedžad Kapetanović and Jusuf Čaušević.
In 2006, Novi Grad Municipality leased Radeljaš a plot of government land in the suburb of Nedžarići for a fee of around 51,000 KM. Radeljaš lost the right to the municipal land in 2010, because he failed to honor his obligation to build an office building on it by a set deadline. Radeljaš was at the time a counselor with Novi Grad Municipal Assembly and he demanded compensation from the Municipality. Compensation was approved by an amount that was 20 times larger than Radeljaš had paid for the land or 1.03 million KM.
The Center for Investigative Reporting in Sarajevo has published a series of stories about Radeljaš’s real property frauds. He was soon after arrested.