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Page last updated at 12:35 GMT, Thursday, 14 May 2009 13:35 UK

Bosnia holds fugitive Croatian MP

Bosnian police escort Branimir Glavas in Sarajevo (13 May 2009)
Branimir Glavas says the charges of war crimes were politically motivated

Bosnian police have arrested a Croatian MP, Branimir Glavas, who was convicted last week in Zagreb of war crimes.

However, there are doubts over whether he will be sent back to Croatia as he holds a Bosnian passport and Bosnia does not normally extradite citizens.

Glavas was sentenced to 10 years in prison for ordering the torture and killing of Serbs during Croatia's war of independence in the early 1990s.

The Croatian parliament lifted the former general's immunity on Monday.

But before he could be detained, Glavas fled the country and said in a video he would not "give them the satisfaction" of arresting him.

Paramilitary unit

During the trial, prosecutors accused Glavas, 51, of ordering members of a paramilitary unit to abduct, torture and murder six Serbs in the city of Osijek in late 1991, when he commanded its defence forces.

The civilians were taken to the banks of the Drava river with their mouths taped and hands and feet tied, then shot and dumped into the water, they said.

Pathologist exhumes bodies in Osijek (22 December 2006)
Some 20,000 people are believed to have been killed in the war in Croatia

Glavas was also accused of failing to prevent the killings of two other Serbs, one of whom was forced to drink battery acid before being shot dead.

Five former members of the Osijek paramilitary unit were also found guilty of war crimes and sentenced to between five and seven years in prison.

Glavas, who founded his right-wing HSSSB party after being expelled from the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) in 2006, was not required to be at the trial to hear the verdict and was not placed into custody afterwards.

At a custody hearing in Sarajevo on Thursday, Glavas insisted his trial in Croatia had been politically motivated and that he was not guilty of war crimes. He also offered to be tried by a Bosnian court.

"As a citizen of Bosnia-Hercegovina, I am not running away from any court proceedings and want to be tried by an unbiased court," he told the judge.

Croatia's 1991 declaration of independence from the former Yugoslavia sparked a revolt by its ethnic Serbs, backed by the Serb-dominated federal military and the government in Belgrade.

The war ended in 1995, after Croatian forces re-took Serb-held territories. Some 20,000 people are believed to have been killed.



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SEE ALSO
Croatian MP jailed for war crimes
08 May 09 |  Europe
Jailed Croat MP in hunger strike
27 Oct 06 |  Europe
Six Croats held for Serb killings
21 Oct 06 |  Europe
Croatia country profile
23 Jan 12 |  Country profiles
Croatia timeline
23 Jan 12 |  Country profiles

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