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22 February 2024

Spain to extradite Serb killer in weeks: diplomat


Spain will likely extradite one of the killers of Serbian prime minister Zoran Djindjic within a month following the fugitive convict's arrest last week, Serbia's ambassador in Madrid said Monday.

The extradition to Serbia would haul in one of the last people convicted of the pro-Western leader's killing: Vladimir Milisavljevic, arrested on February 9 along with three other members of the Serbian mafia.

"It is a process of between two weeks and one month, if all goes normally," Ambassador Jela Bacovic told AFP. "I hope by the end of the month (they will be extradited), if all goes well."

Spain's Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz added that the case was in the hands of the National Court which will send Milisavljevic and three fellow gang members to Serbia "as soon as the documentation grants the extradition."

They spoke after a news conference by police who displayed guns and cash seized from those arrested, members of the Zemun Clan, which grew out of Arkan's Tigers, a paramilitary group active in the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

Milisavljevic, known in Serbia as Budala ("The Bastard"), was sentenced in absentia in 2007 to 35 years' jail for his role, along with other members of Zemun, in the shooting of Djindjic in Belgrade in 2003.

After years on the run, Milisavljevic was arrested Thursday in a restaurant in the eastern Spanish city of Valencia, along with Zemun clan leader Luka Bojovic and two Serbian hitmen, police said.

Bojovic is wanted for 20 killings in Serbia, Spain and the Netherlands as well as for trafficking in people, drugs and arms, but is not wanted in connection with Djindjic's killing.

One of the two hitmen arrested, Sinisa Petric, known as "Baku", had escaped from a Serbian jail and was wanted for the killings of several people including a child.

Police on Monday laid out on a table several handguns, a shotgun, bullets, tablet-style and laptop computers, doctored passports and piles of 500-euro notes seized from the gang.

Fernandez told reporters that in three days since their arrest the four men had not eaten or drunk anything since they feared Spanish police would put truth drugs in the food to make them talk.