Haradinaj released from prison pending extradition decision

A French court on Thursday ordered the release of Ramush Haradinaj pending a decision on whether to extradite him to Serbia, AFP has reported.

Source: B92, Beta, Tanjug
Haradinaj (2nd R) on Jan. 12 leaves the court escorted by police officers in Colmar, France (Tanjug/AP)
Haradinaj (2nd R) on Jan. 12 leaves the court escorted by police officers in Colmar, France (Tanjug/AP)

The Kosovo Albanian politician, a former KLA ("Kosovo Liberation Army") commander who in the past served as Kosovo prime minister, was arrested in France last Thursday on a war crimes warrant issued by Serbia.

The court in Colmar, east France, released Haradinaj on bail, and confiscated his passport to prevent him from leaving the country pending a decision on Serbia's extradition request.

According to Tanjug, he must report to the police twice a week.

Earlier in the day, Haradinaj appeared before the court, when his lawyer said his client has already been acquitted of war crimes charges by the Hague Tribunal and asked for his release.

Serbian judicial authorities said earlier that the indictment against Haradinaj cites the crimes committed against civilians in Kosovo and Metohija in 1998 and 1999 that had not been included in the Hague case against him.

On Thursday, the Serbian Ministry of Justice, which earlier in the week officially requested Haradinaj's extradition, sent additional documentation to France related to the expansion of the investigation against him.

Also on Thursday, the ministry told Beta that the extradition procedure was ongoing despite Haradinaj's release from custody, and that the French court was today deciding only on that issue - "a process completely separate from extradition procedure."

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