Man who lied about Bosnian war crimes will be deported, judge rules

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A man who fled to Minnesota is being deported after lying about the crimes he committed during the Bosnian war, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday.

Zdenko Jakiša, 47, was charged with immigration fraud in 2014, and pleaded guilty to those charges last July. He admitted he "knowingly denied" he'd been arrested, charged or imprisoned for breaking the law in Bosnia and Herzegovina so he could get a Green Card and come to the United States.

Jakiša, who was a former member of the armed forces of the Croatian Defense Council in Bosnia-Herzegovina, was charged with at least seven crimes between 1990 and 1997, including fatally shooting his neighbor through her bedroom window in 1993 – a crime he was convicted of.

U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson of the District of Minnesota sentenced him to time served and has ordered his removal from the U.S., the release says, noting on Feb. 16 he will "self-surrender" to immigration enforcement officials for removal.

On Thursday, he told the court he lied to "save my life and my wife's life," The Associated Press reports.

Jakiša and his wife came to Minnesota, settling in Forest Lake, where they co-own a taxi business, KARE 11 says. He has a lengthy criminal record in Minnesota, including multiple convictions for driving while impaired, disorderly conduct and obstructing legal process, court records show.

Bosnian officials have said they want to question Jakiša in an investigation into war crimes in the country, the AP notes.

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