A Bosnian man and his girlfriend have been charged with illegally imprisoning and torturing a German teenager for over six years, an official said Wednesday
Tuzla prosecutor's office spokesman Admir Arnautovic said that Milenko Marinkovic, 52, and Slavojka Marinkovic, 45 have been indicted on the charges.
According to the indictment the 19-year-old girl was "held captive, starved, prevented from going to school and meeting other people and otherwise physically and mentally tortured," he added.
The couple were arrested in May at their home in the village of Karavlasi in Bosnia's northeast. Villagers said they had treated the girl like a slave, beaten her, forced her to sleep and eat with pigs, and whipped her while pulling a horse cart.
It took years for police to track the girl down _ her house was isolated, and the teen was usually out of sight _ but finally, one of the villagers managed to snap a photo of her using his mobile phone.
The case has riveted and outraged this nation of 3.5 million, especially the neighbors, who had long been trying to help someone the police weren't sure was real.
Villager Sead Makalic said in interviews in May that the young woman was treated like a slave. Several villagers claimed that Milenko, on at least one occasion, forced the teen to pull a cart while whipping her like a horse, and that they also saw her eating raw pumpkin and pig feed.
When police finally found her, she was disoriented and had clearly visible injuries.
Prosecutor's office spokesman Arnautovic said she is now staying in a safe house where she is receiving "special medical and psychological treatment."
"She had an extremely traumatic experience and is strongly affected by it, but she is fully aware of the situation and absolutely clear-minded," he said.
The girl is a daughter of Marinkovic's legitimate wife, 54-year-old German woman Kristina Siegner, who still lives in the village and has denied the accusations. She has insisted her daughter is mentally disabled.
Arnautovic said "for the moment" the girl's mother is considered a witness in the case and must remain in Bosnia.
If the couple are found guilty of the charges, they could be sentenced to between two and 8 years in prison.