News 24 Jan 14

Yugoslav Spy Chief Perkovic Extradited to Germany

Former Yugoslav intelligence official Josip Perkovic has been deported from Croatia to Germany, where he will face charges over the assassination of a dissident in the 1980s.

Josip Ivanovic
BIRN
Zagreb
Josip Perkovic. Photo: Beta

Perkovic was arrested and put on a plane from Zagreb to Munich on Friday after his appeal to Croatia’s constitutional court against his extradition failed.

The former senior official with the Yugoslav intelligence service, UDBA, has long been wanted by the German authorities on suspicion of involvement in the murder of Croatian political émigré Stjepan Djurekovic near Munich in 1983.

“The constitutional court of the Republic of Croatia has made a decision to refuse the constitutional complaint,” the court said in a statement on its website after making the ruling that cleared the way for Perkovic to be deported.

The former intelligence official’s lawyer Anto Nobilo said that “after 10 o’clock [in the morning], the police came for Perkovic at his house and took him”.

Perkovic said on Tuesday however that he expected to be acquitted if he was extradited to stand trial.

“Even if I’m going to Munich, I expect a short trial... and, of course, that my absolute innocence in this case will be confirmed,” he said.

While Perkovic was sent to face charges in Germany, another former Yugoslav intelligence officer who is also a suspect in the 1983 murder, Zdravko Mustac, will not be extradited after a contrary ruling in another court in Velika Gorica in Croatia.

The Perkovic 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.

The case caused a political row in Croatia, and Zagreb’s initial unwillingness to extradite the ex-spy is believed to have angered the German government.

After serving with UDBA, Perkovic helped set up Croatia’s intelligence service as Yugoslavia was breaking up in the early 1990s and held top security posts in the country after that.

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