Dark Past in Balkan War Comes Back to Haunt Azra Basic
She spent nearly two decades as a dedicated American citizen leading a quiet life in a small suburb community of Stanton, Kentucky. Isabell Basic lived a very low key life, and often worked up to two jobs in order to provide a quality life. She worked locally in a factory making Hot Pockets, was handy around the house, and a pretty good cook as well.
She suffered from Emphysema, had no family members, had a dog and shared a home with Steve Loman and his wife Lucy. The Lomans, in turn, describe Ms. Basic, 51, as a “big-hearted” person — the kind who would not buy something for herself without first picking up a gift for a friend, but who was also so scarred by the Bosnian conflict that she could not watch war movies and had severed all ties with her native land.
Sounds all logical for not wanting to be reminded of the past, but perhaps there was another reason. The woman known to the community as Issabel, was actually Azra Basic who was wanted in Bosnia by the prosecutors for taking part in a vicious brigade of Croatian Army soldiers that tortured and killed ethnic Serbs at three detention camps in the early years of the Bosnian war.
Victims and witnesses from the camps, quoted in court documents, say that while wearing a Croatian uniform, twin knives strapped to her belt and a boot, Ms. Basic carved crosses into prisoners’ foreheads. They accuse her of slitting one man’s throat and forcing others to drink from the dead man’s wound.
She was first charged in 1993, but it took Interpol 11 years to locate her. The Bosnian government registered a formal extradition request in 2007, but United States authorities asked for additional evidence before she was finally arrested in 2011 by U.S. authorities.
The lies eventually caught up to Azra Basic.
She tried to hide her shady past in leading a double life. Court records contained in the extradition request indicate that she married Nedzad Basic in 1994. She never shared much about her husband, but instead put together a story on how the Red Cross had helped resettle the pair in the United States, after a bomb blast destroyed one of her kidneys and lodged shrapnel in her skull. Ms. Basic arrived to the United States in 1994, and she began reinventing herself. She changed her name to Issabell, moved from Rochester to Lexington, Ky., and became an American citizen, and in years down the road she ventually divorced her husband of 11 years in 2005.
Today Azra Basic is on trial and awaiting her faith for her crimes against humanity. Likely, she’ll ended up spending the rest of her life behind the doors of a prison cell which will put an end to her double life.