Three weeks after a Serbian college student fled to his native country to avoid charges in New York for allegedly beating a Brooklyn man within an inch of his life, the US Embassy in Belgrade today formally demanded his arrest and extradition, see his INTERPOL international wanted poster, click here.
Fugitive basketball player Miladin Kovacevic, 20, must be handcuffed and returned to New York to face justice, US Ambassador Cameron Munter said today. Kovacevic, a hulking former center for Binghamton University, is accused of viciously beating Bryan Steinhauer, during a brawl at a popular off-campus watering hole on May 4. This case is a top priority for the U.S. government," Munter said in a statement.
He is believed to be hiding in Serbia, A Serbian newspaper reported Wednesday, 6/25/08, that Kovacevic had been spotted in the northern city of Novi Sad and in his nearby hometown of Kula. Kula and Novi Sad Serbia are the home to the Neo-Nazi group the "National Formation" aka Nacionalni stroj see their Novi Sad Serbia riot video here.
The player, whose parents (Branka & Petar) come from a prominent family in Belgrade, made bail with the help of the Serbian Consulate in New York on May 6 and provided with an emergency travel document to return home on May 9. His passport had been confiscated by Broome County authorities in Binghamton. Branka said that her son, who is a student at New York state’s Binghamton University, experienced “serious torture“ while in prison, after being thrown in with “the worst criminals“, and received death threats.
Branka also told reporters that Miladin was also not allowed to talk to a lawyer, and decided to leave the U.S. after receiving threatening phone calls, adding that he is currently “in his place of residence”. “We realized that we had to go. It was better to die on the way or disappear together than to disappear over there,” she said.
For the past week, the Serbian Foreign Ministry maintained that it's national law forbids extradition of its citizens, although the US State Department maintains an old treaty allows the return of a fugitive, see here.
Kovacevic, a giant at 6-feet-9-inches and 260-pounds, is accused of beating and repeatedly kicking puny 135-pound 5' 6" Steinhauer after the smaller man may have grabbed the backside of a woman who was dating the ball player's friend.
Since then, the deputy diplomat who helped Kovacevic escape has been recalled to Serbia and faces disciplinary action. Serbian Consul General Slobodan Neadovic has told The ny Post that he will resign over the incident.