News 22 Apr 14

Croatia Extradites Yugoslav Spy Chief to Germany

Zdravko Mustac, wanted for his alleged involvement in a political assassination carried out by the Yugoslav secret services in 1983, has been sent to Germany to stand trial.

Josip Ivanovic
BIRN
Zagreb
Zdravko Mustac. Photo: Beta.

Former senior Yugoslav secret service agent Mustac is being held in a jail in Stadelheim, near Munich, after he was extradited from Croatia on Thursday.

German federal prosecutors said that he is accused of “colluding in the murder of Yugoslav dissident Stjepan Djurekovic”, who was killed in 1983 near Munich.

The Croatian interior ministry confirmed that the 72-year-old was now in German custody.

“We inform you that officials of Croatian Ministry of Interior Affairs handed over a Croatian citizen, Z.M. (1942), to German police officials at the airport in Zagreb during the afternoon,” the ministry said in a statement on its website on Thursday.

Djurekovic’s family said that they hoped that the German courts would reveal the truth behind the killing.

“We want to know who is responsible for the murder, and we want him to be punished. And not only the one who committed the murder, but also those who gave the order,” Sinisa Pavlovic , the family’s lawyer, told Deutsche Welle.

But Mustac’s lawyer, Lidija Horvat, said that “a number of rights, both domestic and international, were violated” by the extradition.

“We sent a proposal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, in order to get a temporary suspension of the extradition, while it decides whether there was a violation of the European convention [on human rights] in this case,” said Horvat.

Mustac was extradited after the supreme court in Zagreb rejected his appeal last week, ruling that that according to the judicial cooperation agreement between Croatia and Germany, a suspect in a murder case has to be extradited.

Another Yugoslav-era intelligence official suspected of the involvement in the same killing, Josip Perkovic, was also extradited to Germany in January.

The Djurekovic murder case caused controversy because Croatia last year refused to change its extradition law to adopt the use of European arrest warrants – a move alleged to have been an attempt to shield Perkovic – until Zagreb was threatened with sanctions by Brussels and reversed its stance.

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Background

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Serb Minority Rights Scripted Out in Croatia

The muted response to the Croatian town of Vukovar’s decision to scrap controversial bilingual signs in Latin and Serb Cyrillic script suggests the EU has lost focus on minority rights, analysts claimed.

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The trial of Zdravko Mustac and Josip Perkovic, former Yugoslav spy chiefs accused of killing a Croatian émigré, heard that the victim repeatedly told his German lover that he was living in fear.

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