Ismet Bajramović

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Ismet "Ćelo" Bajramović (26 April 1966[1] – 17 December 2008[2]) was a Bosnian soldier and reputed organized crime figure from Sarajevo. During the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina and specifically the siege of Sarajevo, Bajramović played a key role in the defense of the city in the early days of the war.


Bajramović was born in Sarajevo. Prior to the war he was a petty criminal who was in prison from 1985 to 1991. There he protected Alija Izetbegović (the later Bosnian politician and president of Bosnia and Herzegovina) who was imprisoned as a political criminal by the communist regime.[3] When the war began, criminal groups were among the first to offer resistance the Yugoslav National Army besieging Sarajevo. After the initial offensive against the city devolved into a siege those same criminal groups turned to profiteering. Bajramović was one of them and at the same time was head of the military police of Sarajevo. In the fall of 1993 Bajramović was shot in the heart by a sniper.[4] He was evacuated from the city and returned in 1997.

During the war he was profiled by The New York Times and Vanity Fair magazine. He also appeared in an episode of the PBS program Frontline on the story of Romeo and Juliet in Sarajevo which aired in 1994.[5]

In the post war years Bajramović was often arrested on various charges; in April 2000, he was arrested for murder and spent four years in prison until his conviction was overturned. Meanwhile, Bajramović's health began to decline as a result of the bullet wound to the heart. He suffered a tachycardia and was frequently hospitalized as a result.

On 17 December 2008, Bajramović committed suicide by shooting himself in the temple in his Sarajevo home. His declining health was cited as the motive for the suicide. He was also reportedly distressed by the death of his sister a month earlier.


  1. ^ "Optužnica." (18 July 2005).Kantonalno Tužilaštvo Kantona Sarajevo.
  2. ^ "Ex-Bosnian War Commander Found Dead." (17 December 2008)
  3. ^ Film: Romeo and Juliet in Sarajevo Romeo and Juliet in Sarajevo, John Zaritsky, Canada, 1994.
  4. ^ "Gangs in Sarajevo Worry Diplomats." (4 October 1993). The New York Times.
  5. ^ " Transcript of Romeo and Juliet in Sarajevo." (10 May 1994). PBS Frontline.

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