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news 27 Nov 12

Serb Sentenced For Beating American Freed

Miladin Kovacevic, a former college basketball player charged with beating an American student into a coma, was freed under a new amnesty law.

Danilo Lucic
BIRN
Belgrade

Miladin Kovacevic, a former basketball player at Binghamton University, who was sentenced to two years in prison for beating up an American citizen, Bryan Steinhauer, in Boston in 2008, was released on Monday, a few days before the end of his sentence.

The First basic Court in Belgrade spokesperson Ivana Ramic said Kovacevic was set free under the amnesty law that the Serbian parliament passed in October to ease overcrowding in prisons.

Prior to serving his sentence, Kovacevic spent two months in house detention in Belgrade, and one month in the US, from where he fled.

Kovacevic escaped with the help of two Serbian diplomats in the US who allegedly gave him a false passport.

The diplomats were sentenced to prison in Serbia but the Court of Appeal recently ordered a retrial because of procedural violations.

The case caused controversy between the US and Serbia.

Serbia refused to extradite Kovacevic as its laws do not allow for the extradition of Serbian citizens. Instead it paid $900,000 (€693,986) in compensation to the Steinhauer family in 2009.

US prosecutor Gerald Molen from Broome County has not withdrawn an arrest warrant for Kovacevic, and the warrant for Kovacevic's arrest remains in force.

Kovacevic and Steinhauer argued after Steinhauer danced with the girlfriend of one of Kovacevic's friends in May 2008.

Kovacevic then allegedly kicked Steinhauer in the chest and head numerous times, leaving Steinhauer with skull fractures and a severe brain injury.

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