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Germany extradites convicted ex-chief spy to Croatia


AFP Zagreb
A former Yugoslav spy chief who was convicted in Germany for the 1983 murder of a dissident was extradited Thursday to Croatia to serve his 40-year jail term, state-run HRT television reported.
Zdravko Mustac, former head of Yugoslav secret services and a former Croatian intelligence official, arrived at the Zagreb airport aboard a regular flight from Munich, HRT said.
The 77-year-old was transferred to a prison in the Croatian capital. He was tried in Germany along with Josip Perkovic, a former Yugoslav secret service agent and ex-head of Croatia's military intelligence.
A Munich court sentenced the two men to life imprisonment in 2016 for complicity in the murder of dissident Stjepan Djurekovic.
But Croatian tribunals commuted their sentences as the Balkan country has no provision for life imprisonment. Perkovic, whose sentence was cut to 30 years in jail, was extradited in July.
The case of the two men had strained Croatia's ties with the European Union, notably Germany, which was seeking their arrest.
Only days before joining the bloc in July 2013, Zagreb changed a key law, making it impossible to extradite persons wanted for crimes committed before August 2002.
Local media speculated then that Croatia was reluctant over the pair's extradition fearing they had compromising information on influential people in the country.
But the government claimed its aim was to protect veterans of the 1990s independence war from being investigated by the EU.
Under pressure from Brussels, Zagreb eventually amended the law, paving the way for the men's extradition in 2014.
Djurekovic was killed in the Bavarian town of Wolfratshausen by three still unidentified assailants, who shot him multiple times and beat him with an axe.
Prosecutors had said the motive was to silence Djurekovic, who had information about alleged illegal business.

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First Published: Nov 28 2019 | 10:55 PM IST

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