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Croatia extradites convicted Djindjic assassin to Serbia

Croatian authorities on Wednesday extradited a man to Serbia for his connection with the 2003 assassination [JURIST report] of former Serbian prime minister Zoran Djindjic [BBC obituary; memorial website, in Serbian]. Sretko Kalinic was discovered by authorities in Zagreb in June [Xinhua report] after he was shot by a member of the Zemun gang, a Serbian organized crime ring. Kalinic, a dual citizen of Croatia and Serbia, was also a member of the gang [Reuters report], which has been linked to political killings in the early 2000s, including the Djindjic assassination. Kalinic was convicted in absentia in 2007 of plotting the assassination and sentenced to 30 years in jail. He was flown from Zagreb to Belgrade on Wednesday morning in accordance with a recent agreement signed in June between the two countries permitting extradition of organized crime suspects. Kalinic was immediately taken into custody and placed in Belgrade's central prison, where he now has the right to ask for a retrial [BBC report].

A total of 12 men were convicted and sentenced [JURIST report] for their roles in Djindjic's assassination by the Belgrade Special Court in 2007. Milorad Ulemek, a paramilitary commander under Slobodan Milosevic [JURIST news archive] was sentenced to the maximum sentence of 40 years for his role in organizing the assassination. Zvezdan Jovanovic was also sentenced to 40 years for firing the shot that killed Djindjic, though Jovanovic claimed he was illegally forced to sign a confession in 2006 [JURIST report]. The other defendants received sentences ranging from eight to 35 years in prison.

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