War Crimes Defendant Yells ‘I AM NOT A WAR CRIMINAL!’, Then Drinks Poison
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In a scene that shocked everyone present, a Bosnian-Croat war chief downed poison during his war crimes trial at The Hague, the Croatian Prime Minister has confirmed.
Slobodan Praljak yelled, ‘I am not a war criminal!’ and drank a dark liquid from a small bottle seconds after losing his appeal against a 20-year prison sentence at the International Criminal Tribunal, in the Netherlands.
‘I just drank poison,’ he added. ‘I am not a war criminal. I oppose this conviction.’
Praljak, 72, is one of six Croatian politicians sentenced to jail for their involvement in a campaign to drive Muslims out of a would-be Bosnian Croat mini-state in Bosnia in the early 1990s.
Just before judge Carmel Agius suspended the hearing, his lawyer shouted out ‘my client has taken poison’ and the courtroom was closed.
Ambulance crews arrived moments later and a helicopter began hovering overhead, reports the UK Dail Mail.
Court officials called for calm as emergency medical technicians struggled in vain to save the defendant’s life.
A spokesman for the tribunal confirmed he died after ‘he drank a liquid while in court and quickly fell ill’.
Nenad Golcevski added: ‘One of the six defendants… passed away today in the HMC hospital in The Hague’ despite efforts to save him in hospital.
Croatia’s state-run TV service said he died in hospital in the Netherlands, a statement which was later confirmed by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who offered condolences to his family.
Mr Plenkovic said at a press conference that ‘we have all unfortunately witnessed his act by which he took his own life’.
‘His act mostly speaks about a deep moral injustice towards six Croats from Bosnia and the Croatian people … We voice dissatisfaction and regret about the verdict.’
Judge Agius declared the courtroom to be a crime scene as he restarted the hearing, though gave no further details.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
November 29th, 2017
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