July 30, 1987
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
|Other names||"Maximus", Abu Imad As-Sanjaki|
|Known for||Planning a Terrorist Attack.|
|Criminal charge||Planning a Terrorist Attack|
|Criminal penalty||15 Years 4 months|
|Parents||Adem Bektašević and Nafiya Bektašević|
Mirsad Bektašević (born 30 July 1987), alias Maximus, is a Swede of Bosniak descent who in 2005 was arrested in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, charged with planning a terrorist attack against an unnamed target. Bektašević was convicted in 2007 alongside three other men and sentenced to 15 years and 4 months of imprisonment.
Mirsad Bektašević was born to Bosniak parents in the Butmir neighbourhood of Ilidža, a suburb of Sarajevo. His father Adem Bektašević was killed in a traffic accident while Mirsad Bektašević was a young boy. In 1994, Bektašević moved to Sweden together with his mother Nafija Bektašević, whose maiden name is Hamidović, and younger brother because of the Siege of Sarajevo. He grew up in Kungälv north of Gothenburg. Bektašević frequently attended the Bellevue Mosque in central Gothenburg.
On 19 October 2005 Bektašević was arrested as police raided his aunt's apartment in Butmir, Sarajevo. Abdulkadir Cesur, a 20-year-old Turkish citizen, born and raised in Denmark, was also arrested at the time. In the raid, police found a home-made suicide belt, 18 kilograms (40 lb) of factory-made explosives, timing devices, detonators and a Hi-8 videotape with footage demonstrating how to make a home-made bomb. Also retrieved in the raid was a video of Bektašević and Cesur in ski masks, surrounded by explosives and weapons, which was to be published following the attacks. In the video they say that they will attack sites in Europe to punish nations with forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. They were suspected of planning a suicide attack against a Western embassy in Sarajevo. The two had been under surveillance after arriving in Sarajevo on September 27.
The arrests triggered police raids in London and Denmark, where nine others, including Younes Tsouli (alias Irhabi 007), a 22-year-old Moroccan living in London who became an infamous cyber terrorist and key conduit for al-Qaeda in Iraq, were arrested. The arrest of Tsouli was possible due to information found on Bektašević's computer and mobile phone.
After his arrest in Sarajevo, Bektašević was also interrogated by the British intelligence service MI5, who named him as the organizer of a suspected plot by Islamic terrorists to carry out multiple suicide bombings of the White House and the Capitol in Washington DC.
Bektašević allegedly was an Internet recruiter, under the alias Maximus, for young Muslims to join the insurgency in Iraq. According to the British newspaper The Times, citing police and intelligence sources, Bektašević had visited the former leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and run one of his web sites. Bektašević also went by the alias Abu Imad As-Sanjaki on various internet forums.
The trial against Bektašević and three other men, the Danish Turk Cesur Abdulkadir and two Bosniak nationals named Bajro Ikanović and Senad Hasanović, started on 26 June 2006, in Sarajevo.
On 10 January 2007 Bektašević was sentenced to fifteen years and four months in prison. Apart from terrorism crimes, Bektašević was convicted of illicit arms possession and violent resistance. Out of the other charged in the trial, Cesur Abdulkadir received thirteen years, while Bajro Ikanović was sentenced to eight years and Senad Hasanović to two years and six months in prison. In June 2007 an appeals court reduced Bektašević sentence to eight years and four months.
In March 2009 the Swedish government granted a request by Bektašević to serve the remainder of his prison sentence in Sweden. He was transferred to a Swedish prison in June 2009. Since the custom in Swedish justice system is to be released from prison after serving two thirds of the sentence, Bektašević is likely to be released in 2011.[dated info]
- Lisinski, Stefan (11 November 2005). "Säpo utreder medhjälp till terrorbrott" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter. Retrieved 2 January 2007.
- "Trio 'linked to terrorist films'". BBC News. 25 April 2007. Retrieved 4 July 2009.
- Krebs, Brian (5 July 2007). "Terrorism's Hook Into Your Inbox". Washington Post. Retrieved 4 July 2009.
- McGrory, Daniel (7 June 2006). "British computer whiz-kid exports terror via internet". The Times. Retrieved 27 December 2006.
- Leppard, David (6 November 2005). "MI5 probes suicide attack plots on Washington". The Times. Retrieved 27 December 2006.
- "Swedish terror suspect "visited al-Zarqawi"". The Local. 19 November 2005. Retrieved 27 December 2006.
- Ewing, Adam (26 June 2006). "Trial of 'terror Swede' begins in Bosnia". The Local. Retrieved 27 December 2006.
- El Mahdi, Josef (10 January 2007). "Svensk tonåring dömd för terrorism" (in Swedish). Svenska Dagbladet. Retrieved 10 January 2007.
- "Bosnia terror Swede's 'sentence cut'". The Local. 18 June 2009. Retrieved 4 July 2009.
- "Terror Swede to finish jail time in Sweden". The Local. 26 March 2009. Retrieved 4 July 2009.
- Efendic, Negra (3 July 2009). "Mirsad Bektasevic överförd till Sverige" (in Swedish). Svenska Dagbladet. Retrieved 4 July 2009.
- Roberts, Stuart (4 July 2009). "Convicted terrorist back in Sweden". The Local. Retrieved 4 July 2009.