Call Out the Injustice!!!!
It's time to call out the injustice in the Mevludin Hidanovic case.
Graeme, at Left in East Dakota, sent the following:
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-MSN and the Fargo Forum
The Wife's Reaction
Here is what his wife sent me 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 ran 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.
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
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 to concerned about the whole situation, (they haven't printed any
"letters to the editors" his supporters have sent) so we have got to spread
This is the email for the Cass County State's Attorney:End
Let them know the world is watching.