Serbian fugitive a ‘prohibited person’

2012-01-19 14:34

Serbian fugitive Dobrosav Gavric, who fled his home country to avoid a 35-year prison sentence for the murder of warlord Zeljko Raznatovic, has been declared “a prohibited person”.

He was apparently driving Western Cape underworld figure Cyril Beeka when Beeka was shot dead in a night-time drive-by shooting in March last year.

Home affairs director-general Mkuseli Apleni said Gavric’s wife Danijela Lazic and a child had also been declared undesirable persons.

This means that Gavric, who entered South Africa in September 2007 using the alias of Sasa Kovacevic, has failed in his bid for refugee status and faces deportation.

On Monday, Cape Town District Court Magistrate Chumani Giyose postponed Gavric’s bail application to allow the home affairs department to process his application for refugee status.

Gavric has been in custody at the Sea Point police cells since his arrest on an extradition warrant in December.

In the course of his bail hearing last week, Gavric claimed he had been unlawfully convicted on fabricated testimony by a Serbian court for the murder of Raznatovic, also known as Arkan.

Arkan, a Serbian paramilitary leader, was killed in Belgrade in January 2000.

According to the Serbian news website B92, Gavric was arrested in 2001 for his alleged part in an assassination that left three people dead, including Arkan.

Gavric denied involvement in the murders and fled to South Africa. He was later sentenced to 35 years in jail, in his absence.

Local police obtained a warrant for Gavric’s arrest after they received an extradition request from Serbian officials.

Gavric’s extradition proceedings have not yet started.

Apleni said Gavric had entered the country illegally using a fraudulent passport and identity documents from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“On the basis of this fraudulent passport, permit, and false identity, Mr Gavric and his wife Danijela Lazic, fraudulently acquired temporary residence permits and (subsequently) permanent residence permits,” Apleni said.

“Interestingly, Mr Gavric acknowledges that his visas were obtained using an alias, making these invalid simply on this count alone.”

South Africa’s immigration laws do not allow a visa to be issued to people for whom there is a warrant or conviction for murder or for anyone in possession of a fraudulent travel or identity document.

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