SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — A Bosnian man was convicted on Tuesday of illegally imprisoning his German stepdaughter in his house for six years.
Milenko Marinkovic, 52, was arrested last May in his village of Karavlasi in northeast Bosnia and accused of mistreating 19-year-old Bettina Siegner by holding her captive in his remote home, starving her, preventing her from going to school or meeting other people, and physically and mentally torturing her.
Villagers who discovered what was happening said Marinkovic had forced the girl to sleep and eat with pigs, and whipped her while she pulled a horse cart. Details of the case riveted the nation of Bosnia when they first emerged.
When police finally found the victim, she was disoriented and had clearly visible injuries. Marinkovic, who confessed after Siegner testified against him during his trial, was convicted by a court in the nearby town of Kalesija on Tuesday and sentenced to two years in prison. That prompted prosecutor Admir Arnautovic to say he will appeal the sentence as too short, given the gravity of the crime.
Marinkovic's partner, Slavojka Marinkovic, also was arrested in May for allegedly taking part in the illegal imprisoning of Seigner, but she has pleaded innocent and will be tried later. One odd development in the case remains unresolved.
Siegner is the daughter of Marinkovic's legitimate wife, Kristina Siegner, a 54-year-old German woman who still lives in Karavlasi village and has denied the accusations against both defendants. She also has insisted that her daughter is mentally disabled.
Kristina Siegner has been ordered to remain in Bosnia in case her testimony is needed in the two cases, but she did not appear during the first trial.