Man denied pardon; deportation imminentBISMARCK — Mevludin Hidanovic’s plea for a pardon failed Tuesday and he now faces deportation to Bosnia-Herzegovina or Germany.
By: Janell Cole The Dickinson Press, Worthington Daily Globe
BISMARCK — Mevludin Hidanovic’s plea for a pardon failed Tuesday and he now faces deportation to Bosnia-Herzegovina or Germany.
After discussion and deliberation lasting less than five minutes, the state Pardon Advisory Board voted unanimously Tuesday to deny the Fargo man an unconditional pardon—the only thing that can prevent him being deported on or before March 5, according to a board document.
Hidanovic, 31, came to Fargo in 1999 from then war-torn Bosnia. He was convicted in January 2007 of engaging in a riot armed with a weapon during the 2006 Red River Valley Fair. The weapon was a baseball bat.
He served 18 months in prison, and as soon as he was to be released in July 2008, immigration officials took him into custody and began deportation proceedings.
Hidanovic’s wife, Chanda, an outspoken and passionate champion of her husband’s innocence and court appeals, wouldn’t comment after board meeting, said a woman who answered Chanda Hidanovic’s phone.
Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, one of the five board members, noted Hidanovic’s rioting conviction that had triggered deportation isn’t an isolated crime, and that he has several other convictions for menacing and assault, which the board’s clerk, Warren Emmer, said related to domestic violence “with a prior spouse.”
To avoid deportation, Emmer and Stenehjem said, Hidanovic needed a full and complete pardon from Gov. John Hoeven covering all convictions. That’s too much to ask, Stenehjem said.
Stenehjem and board member Beverly Adams of Fargo said they didn’t think it necessary to discuss a victim’s statement; they had more than enough information; Adams made the motion to deny a pardon and Stenehjem seconded it.
In an interview before the meeting, Chanda Hidanovic said she had already lost hope for her husband’s case and was “expecting another letdown.” She is preparing to go with her husband to Bosnia. Their children will remain with relatives in the Fargo area.
Other Pardon Advisory Board members are retired district judge Everett Nelson Olson of Minot and Bismarck attorney Craig Smith. Adams is a lawyer in Fargo.
Though the board is technically an advisory board to the governor, a spokesman for Hoeven said the governor needn’t take further action when the board advises that a pardon be denied.
Forum reporter Brittany Lawonn contributed to this story.