Serbian fugitive to be extradited

2010-08-11 17:13

Zagreb - A Croatian court has approved the extradition to Serbia of a fugitive convicted of the 2003 murder of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, a spokesperson said on Wednesday.

The regional court of Zagreb "established that there is a basis for extradition" of Srecko Kalinic, who was arrested in Croatia in June, to Serbia, court spokesperson Kresimir Devcic told AFP.

Kalinic, who has both Croatian and Serbian citizenship, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for his involvement in the assassination of Serbia's reformist prime minister Djindjic.

The fugitive, who had been in hiding since 2003 before being arrested in Zagreb after a mafia-style shooting incident, has three days to appeal the decision, Devcic said.

Organised crime

The final word on the extradition will come from the Croatian justice minister, he added.

If Kalinic is extradited, it would be first such a case under an agreement signed by Serbia and Croatia in late June which allows the extradition of their citizens wanted or convicted by the other country for organised crime.

Last November Serbia's top court rejected a final appeal and confirmed 40-year prison sentences for Milorad "Legija" Ulemek, the mastermind of Djindjic's assassination, and sniper Zvezdan Jovanovic.

Ten other suspects, including Kalinic, were given prison terms of up to 40 years for taking part in the attack.

Despite the conflicts in ex-Yugoslavia, members of organised criminal groups often sought refuge in its former republics.

Recently however, police and security services have stepped up co-operation, notably Serbia and Croatia, resulting in a number of arrests.