A woman accused of war crimes against civilians during the Bosnian civil war asked a federal court in Lexington to block her extradition to Bosnia and Herzegovina and immediately release her from jail, her attorney said Wednesday.
Azra Basic is accused of torturing and murdering ethnic Serbs at prison camps from April to June 1992. She was arrested in 2011 and has pleaded not guilty to war crimes.
Before her arrest, Basic, who is a naturalized U.S. citizen, lived in Powell County, Lexington and Nicholasville and worked at a frozen-food plant in Mount Sterling and at nursing homes. She is in the Fayette County Detention Center.
Basic's recent actions in U.S. District Court were in response to a July 27 ruling by a U.S. magistrate judge that she can be extradited, her attorney Patrick Nash said.
The U.S. Secretary of State has the final say as to whether Basic is sent back to Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to the magistrate judge's order.
Nash argued in a writ of habeas corpus petition, which is similar to an appeal, that Basic was being unlawfully detained and should be released because she should not be extradited.
Nash argued in the petition, which was filed Tuesday, that Basic's extradition is unlawful in her case for several reasons, including that the treaties under which she would be extradited were being misapplied.
The U.S. Secretary of State suspends the decision-making process on extraditions while a writ of habeas corpus petition is sorted out, according to an Aug. 22 memorandum of law filed by the U.S. Attorney's office.
Meanwhile, Nash said Basic "denies vehemently that she had any role in war crimes."
Valarie Honeycutt Spears: (859) 231-3409. Twitter:@vhspears.