updated 5/4/2007 2:52:15 PM ET 2007-05-04T18:52:15

A Bosnian Serb immigrant faces a prison term and deportation after being found guilty of fraudulently obtaining refugee status in the U.S. by lying about his service in a brutal Serbian army brigade.

A federal jury convicted Veselin Vidacak, 32, on Thursday on charges accusing him of concealing his service in the Republic of Srpska's Zvornik Brigade when he applied to become a refugee.

He is scheduled to be sentenced in August and could face up to 30 years, though the maximum sentence was considered unlikely. He will face deportation after his prison term.

The Zvornik Brigade was responsible for the massacre of thousands of Muslims in the village of Srebrenica in July 1995. Vidacak was not accused of taking part in the massacre, however; military records show he was on sick leave at the time.

During a three-day trial, Vidacak said he was pressed into service by the Republic of Srpska, a breakaway state within Bosnia-Herzegovina, but denied he was a soldier. He said his job in the Bosnian civil war was to warn villagers when Muslim forces approached.

He said on the witness stand that during an interrogation in December, he told federal agents what they wanted to hear when he said that he had been in the military.

"Everything bad that happened to me throughout my life came back to my mind," Vidacak testified through an interpreter. "I was once again in such a situation."

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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