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Thursday, April 12, 2007
Steal this Blog!
Mevludin Hidanovic needs our help. He was convicted (and sentenced to 18 months in jail) for his involvement in a fight last summer during the Red River Valley Fair in West Fargo, North Dakota. There was a brawl, involving 20 to 30 people and a baseball bat.
Mevludin was the one who got charged for fighting with the baseball bat (the bat has since disappeared). Mevludin has maintained his innocence since the beginning. Mevludin has also voluntarily taken a lie detector test (along with a witness and his wife). The evidence against him was shaky at best, it relied on one person who said they might have seen him there. But evidence (or lack there of) aside, after the trial a juror admitted that she found him guilty because of her past experiences with Roma Bosnians.
Here are a few statements from the juror's affidavit: "I used my own experiences with ethnic groups, specifically Bosnians and/or Gypsies, to influence the jury." "I told the jury that I had personal experience with Bosnians and that they stole from my business and in the same experience lied to me regarding the theft and their conduct. Even though I had never met Mr. Hidanovic, or any of the witnesses, Mr. Hidanovic and the witnesses' race was discussed in a negative way." "I interjected into the deliberations the concept that if Mr. Hidanovic wasn't guilty of this crime he was guilty of something else."
After this was made public, the judge STILL refused to grant a new trial. The Hidanovics have lost their home, car and faith in the justice system over this ordeal.
Here is more on the story- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17974011/ http://www.in-forum.com/articles/index.cfm?id=161853§ion=news
Here is what his wife sent me [Graeme Anfinson] after I wrote about the situation on my blog, and asked for a few more details-
"Well, basically Mevludin and I, along with our four kids, were at the fair the evening of June 24, 2006. We were playing games and watching our kids go on rides. We ran into my co-worker Annie (witness#1) spoke to her for awhile and went on our way. We also ran into out friend Nurija (witness#2) who begged us to go on a ride with him. He even paid for us.
I am not a ride person, so we found the smoothest ride out there. You just lay on your stomach (it fits three across) it lifts you up, turns you a round a few times and brings you down. So Mevludin, Nurija and I went on the ride and the kids sat on the bench and watched us. When the ride was ending Nurija's phone rang and someone told him there was a huge fight and some of our family may have been hurt. The ride operator had to line us up to our show that were on the ground and it seemed like eternity.
I got my shoes on; grabbed the kids and started running. My main and only concern at this time was Melvudin's little 12 year old brother. I knew he was there. Now the scene was chaos. People were running in every direction. I just followed Mevludin. We got the the area where the fight happened and everyone had pretty much ran away. There were groups of people standing around talking about it.
I saw no fight. I saw no injured people (perhaps they were transported somewhere). I, in essence, missed everything. We stood around for a few minutes and asked if anyone had seen our brother and no one knew. So we decided to leave. We packed up the kids and were driving home.
That is when we finally saw cop cars flying towards West Fargo. A couple of days after the fair a police officer called Mevludin's phone and asked if he was at the fair and he said yes he was there with his wife and family. They asked if he fought and he said no. Then SIX WEEKS later; we are up watching the news. They showed Mevludin's picture saying he is wanted in connection with the fair fight. We were shocked!
Everything that happened from that point on is unbelievable. I have ordered the copy of his actual trial because I want to read over it. It is just unbelievable.
Basically there was no physical evidence (no bat at the trial) and eye witness testimony of no one that was positive it was him. I am an educated person. I actually went to school to be a paralegal and I cannot believe this has happened. Mevludin has maintained his innocent and belief in our system the whole way through this. He was offered a Misdemeanor and 30 days in jail and didn't take it because he had nothing to do with this. Now he is sitting 18 months!
Our system has failed us. I have no hope. I have no one to listen and help us. Whatever you can do I appreciate. I was even happy to see your website addressing the issues at hand here.
Thanks, Chanda Hidanovic
Graeme: Mevludin did not receive a fair trial. He was convicted because of his race, not because of his actions. The Hidanovics cannot afford to appeal this case. He is going to go to prison and then be deported. Besides an appeal, I really don't know what his options are.
The only thing I can think of is public pressure. If you have a blog, please post about it. If you have a ton of people on your email list, let them know. Awareness is key. The local paper doesn't seem too concerned about the whole situation, (they haven't printed any "letters to the editors" his supporters have sent) so we have got to spread the word.
This is the email for the Cass County State's Attorney: email@example.com
Let them know the world is watching.
link | posted by Jae at 10:23 AM |
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