Marko Boskic, a Bosnian immigrant living in Peabody, kept a gruesome secret from US government officials who accepted him as a refugee from the war-torn Balkans, prosecutors said yesterday.

The local construction worker was formerly a soldier in the Serbian military’s 10th Sabotage Detachment, which forced 1,200 Muslim men and boys onto buses, unloaded them on a farm outside Srebrenica, lined them up in groups of 10, and shot them as part of a horrific campaign of “ethnic cleansing” in Bosnia in the 1990s, prosecutors said on the opening day of Boskic’s trial in US District Court in Boston.

Boskic, 41, was charged in 2004 with five counts of lying to federal officials and concealing his role in the 10th Sabotage unit on the portion of the US immigration form that asks whether he had ever persecuted anyone on the basis of their religion or ethnicity. If convicted, he could face prison and deportation.


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