ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - New developments in the alleged St. Louis-based conspiracy to support terrorist fighters overseas. There was a status hearing federal court Thursday afternoon for six Bosnian immigrants indicted in February.
Something very interesting surfaced: the language barrier. Much of the case may hinge on translations of messages in Bosnian among the suspects.
Fox 2 asked Sedina Hodzic of south St. Louis County for her response to the allegations as she left the courthouse.
“I would like to tell you that you’re very inappropriate,” she said. That was all.
She and her husband, Ramiz Hodzic, are two among the six suspects. Three are from St. Louis.
They are accused of supporting known terrorist Abdullah Pazara, a Bosnian immigrant who lived in St. Louis before leaving to allegedly fight with Isis and Al Quaeda in Syria and Iraq. Pazara is now presumed dead.
The six allegedly funneled more than $10,000, plus military gear, including uniforms and rifle scopes, to the cause. Defendant Nihad Rosic was picked up at a New York airport allegedly headed to Syria to join the fight. Defendant Jazminka Ramic is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty in September.
Sedina Hodzic’s attorney, Paul D’Agrosa, cautioned against assuming all six defendants had equal “involvement in” and “knowledge of” the alleged conspiracy. He also cautioned against a rush to judgment, especially given the current climate.
“Here we are in St. Louis in the Midwest, far removed from the events in the Middle East, certainly in Paris,” D’Agrosa said. “Who doesn’t have empathy for the victims of an attack like that? But you separate that when you’re defending a case like this because I’m defending a human being, a mother of children, who’s presumed innocent of the charges.”
Sedina Hodzic and Armin Harcevic, who is also from St. Louis, are the only two suspects free on bond. Only Hodzic attended the status hearing. She was not required to be there. It focused on partly on setting deadlines for translations, which may be critical in this case with much of the evidence comprised of Bosnian text messages and social media posts.
“So there’s sometimes literal translations, but that could also mean there’s interpretations of what those translations mean and what the people meant when they were speaking to each other,” D’Agrosa said.
The defendants face a wide range of sentences: up to five years for Ramic, 45 years for Sedina Hodzic, and life imprisonment for her husband if they’re convicted.
A trial may still be two years away, one attorney said.