Thaci informed he would be arrested in Belgrade

Serbian authorities have "officially informed the Kosovo organs" that Kosovo Deputy PM Hashim Thaci will be arrested if he travels to Belgrade on April 24.

Source: Beta, Tanjug
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The Beta news agency is reporting this on Monday quoting a source, noting that Thaci was told he would be arrested based on a valid court verdict, and an arrest warrant stemming from the ruling.

Thaci, a former leader of the now disbanded KLA, was charged with terrorism, put on trial in absentia and according to Beta, in 1997 sentenced to ten years in prison.

The same source was quoted as telling the agency that Belgrade's liaison officer in Pristina on Sunday received an official request of the Kosovo organs for Thaci to be allowed to attend a Belgrade conference that will be organized by the Youth Education Committee NGO.

Based on an agreement regulating visits of officials, Pristina today received Belgrade's official reply that Thaci will be arrested if he comes here, the report said.

Later on Monday, news agencies confirmed that Belgrade's liaison officer in Pristina Dejan Pavicevic had responded to the request for Thaci to attend the April 24 gathering in Belgrade.

Tanjug was able to receive confirmation from the Government Office for Kosovo and Metohija that Pavicevic informed the authorities of Pristina about a valid guilty verdict against Thaci, and that, if he appeared in Belgrade, "he would be taken before a court."

"All citizens of Serbia are equal before the law. Taking into consideration Serbia's legal system and the fact that the verdict against Thaci is legally binding, he would be detained during first contact with any of the services in charge of enforcing the law, and taken before a competent court."

Thaci was found guilty in absentia on terrorism charges in July 1997 by the District Court in Pristina, and sentenced to ten years in prison. This verdict was confirmed in March 1999 by the Supreme Court of Serbia.

Commenting on this issue on Monday, Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said the Serbian authorities "will behave in line with the law" when it comes to the guilty verdict passed against Thaci.

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