ZAGREB, February 3, 2018 (Hina) – Spain has refused to extradite former Yugoslav secret service agent Vinko Sindičić to Croatia after he was arrested in a hotel in the northern city of Burgos on January 26.
Sindičić was arrested on a warrant issued by the Municipal Prosecutor’s Office in Rijeka following a charge brought by lawyer Anto Nobilo.
Nobilo claims that his client, Yugoslav-era Croatian intelligence official Josip Perković, has been sentenced to life imprisonment in Germany because of false testimony given by Sindičić.
Sindičić was a witness in the trial of Yugoslav secret service (UDBA) agent Krunoslav Prates in Munich in 2008. Prates was sentenced to life imprisonment for aiding and abetting in the murder of Croatian dissident Stjepan Đureković.
Đureković was assassinated in a garage in Wolfratshausen, outside Munich, in 1983. According to the indictment, Prates gave the key to the garage to senior UDBA official Josip Perković. In 2016, Munich High Court sentenced Perković and another UDBA official, Zdravko Mustač, to life imprisonment for their roles in the murder.
The lawyer Nobilo said he had brought the charge against Sindičić because his false testimony harmed his client.
Police in Burgos took Sindičić to a local court where he was interviewed in the presence of his Spanish lawyer by an investigating judge from Madrid via video link. Several hours after his arrest and court appearance, Sindičić was allowed to go.
A person close to the defence said that Sindičić was released as soon as the judge realised that he was charged with the same thing for which an earlier request for his extradition had been rejected.
Sindičić was already arrested in Burgos in November 2015, but an investigating judge refused to extradite him saying that Spain was not required to extradite him to Croatia if Germany, on whose soil the alleged crime was committed, was not looking for him.
It was unclear what Sindičić was doing in Burgos. After being released, he returned to Italy where he lives, the person close to the defence said. Sindičić claims he did not give false testimony.
The Municipal Prosecutor’s Office in Rijeka did not say whether it would appeal the Spanish court’s ruling and whether the arrest warrant was the same as the first time.