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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 November 2005, 15:01 GMT
Greek court rules against Croat
Hrvoje Petrac
Hrvoje Petrac was arrested with a false passport in a Greek port
Greece's Supreme Court has ordered the extradition of a Croatian businessman wanted in connection with fugitive war crimes suspect General Ante Gotovina.

Hrvoje Petrac, 50, who was arrested in August in Greece, was sentenced by a Zagreb court in absentia earlier this year to six years for kidnapping a boy.

Petrac had appealed against Croatia's extradition request. The final decision lies with Greece's justice minister.

Croatia suspects Petrac of being a key protector of Gen Gotovina.

The European Union has postponed talks on Croatia's EU entry because of Zagreb's failure to arrest Gen Gotovina.

He has been indicted by the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague, accused of murdering Serb civilians during an operation to expel Serb forces from the Krajina region of Croatia in 1995.

The Greek justice minister's decision on Petrac's extradition is expected within the next few weeks, lawyers said.

Responding to the Supreme Court ruling, Petrac's lawyer, Spyros Alfantakis, told Reuters news agency: "We are very surprised and will now consider taking it to the European Court of Human Rights whatever the minister decides."

Petrac claims he could be tortured if returned to Croatia.

The tycoon was sentenced in absentia for kidnapping the son of a former Croatian deputy defence minister and holding him to ransom.


SEE ALSO:
Analysis: Croatia in EU limbo
03 Oct 05 |  Europe
Country profile: Croatia
29 Sep 04 |  Country profiles


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