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Čengić was born in Foča, Bosnia and Herzegovina. A Muslim cleric, he was convicted together with the future president Alija Izetbegović by the communist regime of Yugoslavia in 1983 and served five years of a ten-year sentence.
He is a member of a powerful clan headed by his father, Halid Čengić, the main logistics expert in the Bosnian Army and a senior official, with his sons, in Bosnia's Agencija za Informacije I Dokumentaciju (AID) intelligence agency. Hasan Čengić has travelled frequently to Tehran since 1983 and has been deeply involved in Iranian arms shipments to Bosnia. During the Bosnian War, he lived in Tehran and Istanbul. According to Austrian police, Čengić was on the supervisory board of the Third World Relief Agency (TWRA), a Sudan-based, phoney humanitarian organization connected to Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda terrorist network. Čengić's involvement was confirmed by the TWRA's director, Elfatih Hassanein.
As minister for refugee resettlement after the conflict, he has been accused of intimidating Serb refugees returning to their homes, but never convicted.
The Slobodna Bosna newspaper has argued that Čengić is the business partner of Russian mobster, arms dealer and former KGB officer Viktor Bout, nicknamed "the Merchant of Death". In May 2006, when 200,000 AK-47 assault rifles went missing in transit from Bosnia to Iraq, one of Bout's airlines was the carrier.
- Clash of cultures in Bosnia. (US and Iranian presence in Bosnia-Hercegovina), The Economist, 23 November 1996, accessed 29 November 2007
- NATO-SFOR (quoting Slobodna Bosna), Main News Summary, 11 June 2004, accessed 7 August 2013
- Douglas Farah, While Lebanon Boils, Watch Bosnia, 19 July 2006, accessed 28 November 2007
- 200,000 AK47S FALLEN INTO THE HANDS OF IRAQ TERRORISTS? Daily Mirror, 10 May 2006, accessed 28 November 2007
- Hasan Cengic bio on Bosnian Parliament website
- John Pomfret, Bosnian Officials Involved in Arms Trade Tied to Radical States, The Washington Post, 22 September 1996
- John Pomfret, Bosnia's Muslims Dodged Embargo, The Washington Post, 22 September 1996; Page A01