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Convicted of lying during naturalization process and stripped of his U.S. citizenship, former Serbian militia member returned to Bosnia-Herzegovina to face charges for murders of Muslim couple during 1990s Bosnian Conflict
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — Alexander Kneginich, 58, formerly of Crown Point, Indiana, has been transported back to his native Bosnia-Herzegovina after the U.S. Marshals Service surrendered him to Bosnian law-enforcement officials last Friday in Chicago.
Kneginich was convicted in August 2017 of having fraudulently obtained U.S. citizenship by falsely denying, during the immigration and naturalization process, that he had ever been charged with or jailed for a crime. In fact, Kneginich, along with several other veterans of a Serbian militia unit, had been charged with the 1994 murders of two Muslim civilians – a husband and wife –during the 1990s Bosnian conflict. Kneginich told these lies to U.S. immigration authorities in the course of obtaining authority to enter the United States as a refugee, subsequently obtaining permanent-resident status, and ultimately obtaining U.S. citizenship in January 2007 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In November 2017, Kneginich was sentenced to 12 months in prison for the naturalization offense, and his U.S. citizenship was also revoked. In December 2017, and at the request of the Government of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the U.S. Attorney’s Office initiated extradition proceedings against Kneginich under the extradition treaty between the United States and Bosnia-Herzegovina. In June 2018, U.S. Magistrate Judge Phillip J. Green ruled that Kneginich was extraditable and referred his case to the U.S. State Department pursuant to the Treaty, and the State Department then ordered his extradition.
“Mr. Kneginich never rightly secured the blessings and freedom of citizenship and lawful status in this great country of ours,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew B. Birge. “He snuck into this country by fleeing charges that he is a murderer. This deceit cost Kneginich the U.S. citizenship he obtained by fraud, and the United States has honored its extradition treaty with his native country by sending Kneginich back to Bosnia-Herzegovina to face trial for the charges he was fleeing when he came here.”
The criminal case was jointly prosecuted by Trial Attorney Jamie Perry, of the Justice Department’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section (HRSP), and Assistant U.S. Attorney Hagen W. Frank of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Michigan. The case was investigated by HSI’s Grand Rapids Office, assisted by the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs and the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank represented the United States in the extradition proceedings.