Bosnia refuses to extradite Hamas suspect to Tunisia

2018-05-17 20:23


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A Sarajevo court on Thursday refused to hand over a Bosnian national to Tunisia over the 2016 assassination of a member of the Palestinian Islamist Hamas movement, saying there was no extradition deal between the countries.

The suspect, Elvir Sarac, was briefly detained in Sarajevo on Tuesday after Tunisia issued an international warrant for him in connection with the killing of Tunisian engineer Mohamed Zaouari.

The Hamas operative, 49, was killed in a hail of bullets at the wheel of his car outside his house in the Tunisian city of Sfax in December 2016.

But a judge ordered Sarac's release on Thursday.

"Bosnia's state court ... has established that Bosnia-Herzegovina has not signed a bilateral accord with Tunisia, which would allow the extradition of its nationals to face criminal trial," a court spokesperson said.

Sarac is one of two Bosnians that Tunisia has accused of gunning down Zaouari, an aviation engineer who worked on drones.

The other suspect is Alem Camdzic, arrested in March in Croatia, which approved his extradition on May 9. He has appealed the ruling.

Hamas described Zaouari, who also held Belgian nationality, as one of the group's commanders in Gaza during the 2014 conflict with Israel.

Bosnian media reports quoted Sarac as telling the court he was in Tunisia in December 2016 but on a business trip.

Hamas has accused Israel of being behind the killing - a claim to which Israel has not responded.

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