The body of Muamer Zukorlic, former mufti of the Islamic Community in Serbia and leader of the Justice and Reconciliation Party, will be exhumed after test results suggested he died after being poisoned, his family said.
Muamer Zukorlic’s coffin being carried to his grave. Photo: Muamer Zukorlic/Facebook
The prosecutor’s office in Novi Pazar in south-west Serbia ordered on Thursday the exhumation of late Muslim Bosniak leader Muamer Zukorlic after his family said that test results from two European laboratories suggested that he had been poisoned.
“As part of the investigation, a statement was taken from Usame Zukorlic [son of Muamer Zukorlic], and then an order was given to exhume the body of the late Muamer Zukorlic, with which the family agreed,” the prosecutor’s office told Radio Sto Plus on Thursday.
The exact date of the exhumation is not yet known but it will be announced soon, the prosecutor’s office said.
Usame Zukorlic, who replaced his father as the leader of his Justice and Reconciliation Party, said on Sunday that his father had been poisoned before his death, according to test results from two independent laboratories in Europe.
“One said that there is a high probability of heavy metal poisoning, and the other that it is food poisoning, which is enough for us to have a basic suspicion that the mufti did not die a natural death,” Usame Zukorlic told N1 TV on Thursday.
Elma Zukorlic, the second wife of Muamer Zukorlic, welcomed the decision to carry out the exhumation.
“I am glad that the relevant state bodies of the Republic of Serbia have taken all the measures needed to make the truth available to us as soon as possible,” she wrote on Instagram.
Muamer Zukorlic, who was the mufti of Sandzak, leader of the Justice and Reconciliation Party and deputy speaker of Serbia’s parliament died in November of a heart attack at the age of 51, shocking Muslims in the region and around the world.
In his 14 years as mufti of the Islamic Community in Serbia, the official body representing the country’s Muslims, Zukorlic amassed immense popularity in the Sandzak region and among Muslims in Bosnia.
The Sandzak region, which straddles parts of south-west Serbia and northern Montenegro, has a strong ethnic identity, with the majority of its roughly 500,000 people identifying as Muslim Bosniaks.
Zukorlic also made headlines with his personal and family life. Unusually among Bosniaks, Zukorlic had two wives and eight children.
Observers believe that his death has left a power vacuum. His party under his son’s leadership gained slightly fewer votes at the recent Serbian general elections on April 3, and its number of parliamentary seats fell from four to three.
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