Tiger in Jail

Hamdija Abdić, known as Tiger, a wartime commander and a member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Football Association’s executive board, was arrested Oct. 8, 2009, in Ilidža, outside a hotel where the BiH national team was staying for training before leaving for a playoff game in Estonia.

Abdić has been sentenced several times, including one two-year prison sentence in 2007.

In that case, Abdić was accused of robbery and felonious assault in 1996 and the Federation of BiH Supreme Court confirmed the sentence against him and against Emin Pivić. They were convicted for attempted extortion of 200,000 DM from Nedžad Bajrić, who, the verdict states, was kicked in the head and other parts of his body and was shot in the leg, and that Abdić and Pivić took his cell phone, watch and car.

Last year, a CIN reporter asked for an interview for a series of stories on BiH Football and its governing association. One of the stories in the series outlined legal problems affecting several officials and board members of the BiH Football Association, including those of Abdić. He agreed to talk in his home of Bihać and said at the time that he was innocent and that his enemies had set him up.

Abdić had avoided serving the time by citing health problems, which the court took into consideration several times, and in the interview, he said he thought his health problems would continue to keep him out of jail.

When he failed to appear to serve the sentence, a warrant was issued against him and he was arrested in front of Hercegovina hotel, where the BiH national football team was staying before it left for Estonia for a trial match that could result in a spot in playoffs that lead to football’s World Cup 2010 in South Africa.

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