Saturday, October 1, 2011

Captain Dragan loses bid to block extradition

The Australian Federal Court dismissed Friday the appeal from Dragan Vasljkovic, known as Captain Dragan, accused of war crimes in Croatia, allowing his extradition to Croatia.

He can still appeal to the Australian High Court. Vasiljkovic, 56, who has dual Australian and Serbian citizenship, is accused of taking part in torture and murder during the civil war in Croatia in the early 1990s. He has denied the crimes.

The Federal Court upheld a ruling from November last year, calling Vasiljkovic's attempt to avoid extradition abuse of process.

Vasiljkovic was arrested in 2006 after Croatia asked for his extradition, and after spending almost four years in prison, the Australian court blocked his extradition due to possible bias in the Croatian court system. He was released on bail in September 2009 but he skipped town when the High Court upheld the federal government's appeal.

The police tracked him down 44 days later on the New South Wales north coast and sent him to a Sydney prison. In his appeal to the Federal Court, Vasiljkovic claimed that he was not an extraditable person and that he was unlawfully imprisoned.

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