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File:MEHMEDBASIC.GIFSPACER.GIFMehmedbasic, Mohammed. (1887 - ca. 1940) One of the seven young men involved in the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

A cabinet maker from the province of Herzogovina with pro-Serb views, despite being a Muslim. Mehmedbasic (pronounced: Meh-met-baysh-itch) had been recruited by Mlada Bosna in January 1914 to assassinate the military governor of Bosnia-Herzogovina, General Potiorok. When police searched his train (for a suspect of some other petty crime), he quietly disposed of his dagger and poison and did not follow through with his mission.

In the spring of 1914, Danilo Ilic recruited Mehmedbasic to join a band of young assassins charged by the Black Hand to kill Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Mehmedbasic was given the lead position in the line of assassins along the Appel Quay. When the motorcade approached, he did not throw his bomb, claiming that a policeman stepped close to him. The next assassin in the line, Cabrinovic, did throw his bomb, but missed his target. Later that morning, another of their band, Gavrilo Princip, succeeded in shooting and killing the Archduke.In the confusion that followed, Mehmedbasic fled. He was the only member of the group to escape arrest by Austrian authorities.

He had fled south to neighboring Montenegro. Rather than 'laying low,' Mehmedbasic went about openly boasting of his role in the murders. Even though the Montenegrin government was not highly sympathetic to Austria, they had no choice but to arrest him. The Austrians pressed for extradition. The Montenegrin government found itself in a difficult position. Handing over Mehmedbasic to the Austrians would not have been well received by the predominantly pro-Serb populace, yet they were bound by existing extradition agreements. Mehmedbasic somehow managed to escape police custody, conveniently solving both problems. He learned his lesson and remained quiet -- for awhile.

In 1917, Mehmedbasic was implicated, along with Apis, in a plot to kill King Alexander. For this he was arrested, convicted and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment. He was pardoned in 1919 and returned to Sarajevo to make a modest living as a gardener and carpenter. He died sometime during World War II.


Related Articles in World War I Document Archive

The Black Hand
Constitution of the Black Hand
Sarajevo, June 28, 1914
Biography of Colonel Dimitrijvic, the mastermind.
Biography of Franz Ferdinand, the slain Archduke.
Biography of Sophie, Franz Ferdinand's wife.
Biography of General Potoirek, Governor of Sarajevo.
Biography of Princip, the gunman.
Biography of Cabrinovic, the bomber.
Biography of Grabez, the third Belgrade man.
Biography of Cubrilovic, the youngest assassin.
Biography of Popovic, the other young assassin.

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