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9 February 2011
News

Custody of Tihomir Purda Extended

BIRN BiH
The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina extended the custody of Tihomir Purda, who is suspected by Serbia's War Crimes Prosecution of committing crimes against the wounded and sick.


The spokesperson of the State Court told BIRN-Justice Report that custody of Tihomir Purda can last "six months from the day of his arrest".

 

Serbia's War Crimes Prosecutor is conducting an investigation on the basis of grounded suspicion that Tihomir Purda committed war crimes against the wounded and sick in Borovo Naselje, Croatia, in November 1991, by shooting at wounded people and killing at least two soldiers. Sergeant Boban Gacic, the only survivor, died in a hospital in Vukovar.

Purda has been held in the Extradition Detention Unit in Bosnia and Herzegovina since January 5, 2011, after having been arrested on an international warrant at the border crossing in Orasje. Purda is a Croatian citizen, but Zagreb has not requested his extradition because no investigation is currently being conducted against him there.

The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina has yet to render a decision about the extradition of Purda to Serbian judicial authorities.

State Prosecutor Jadranka Lokmic-Misiraca explained the proposal to order Purda into extradition custody instead of temporary custody, arguing that there was a danger he might flee and evade the extradition procedure.

“The person is not a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He does not have a place of residence and is unemployed. All of the mentioned circumstances suggest a possibility that he might seek to flee,” Prosecutor Lokmic-Misiraca said.

 

Josip Muselimovic, Defence attorney for Purda, objected to the motion, saying that the Prosecution in Osijek, Croatia conducted an investigation and determined that Purda did not commit the crime for which he is charged, so neither a custody order nor a custody extension order could be ordered against him.

“The Osijek Attorney's Office has examined all witnesses and determined that there are no grounds for suspicion that my client committed the crime,” Muselimovic said, adding that the Defence had requested the termination of custody and his release to liberty.

 A.S.

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