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Bosnia UN ambassador urges release of female war criminal jailed in Sweden

[JURIST] Bosnia's ambassador to the United Nations wants the Swedish government to free Biljana Plavsic [BBC profile; ICTY case backgrounder] from the Hinseberg prison for women, where she has been serving an 11-year sentence as the only woman convicted of war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website]. Ambassador Milos Prica petitioned for Plavsic's release in a letter to Sweden's former Foreign Minister Jan Eliasson [UN profile] obtained by AP, saying Plavsic is in poor health and also criticizing the conditions of the prison. Prica said Plavsic's release should be granted as a matter of "human understanding and compassion." A spokesman for Swedish Justice Minister Beatrice Ask [official profile] said the request was being reviewed.

Plavsic pleaded guilty in 2001 to eight charges of war crimes for her part in planning the ethnic cleansing of non-Serbs during the Bosnian war [Wikipedia backgrounder]. A warden at the Swedish prison said she was surprised by Prica's complaints about the prison, saying Plavsic is being held in a new building at the complex with toilets and showers in each room and is allowed to take long walks around a lake near the prison. AP has more.

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