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Sioux Falls Inmate to Fight Extradition

Bosnia-Herzegovina wants man returned

By Peter Harriman

A Sioux Falls man convicted of murder in 1998 in his homeland of Bosnia-Herzegovina will fight extradition.

At his initial court appearance Thursday, the lawyer for Samir Avdic, 40, said Avdic “absolutely” requested a hearing to try to avoid being sent back to Bosnia-Herzegovina to serve a six-year sentence.

“This case involves complicated legal issues and factual questions,” Avdic’s court-appointed lawyer, William Delaney, told U.S. Magistrate John Simko.

An extradition hearing was set for June 5.

Avdic and another man were found guilty of killing a third individual they thought was hiding salt from them when they were holed up in caves in 1995 to escape rampant violence when the nearby town of Srebrenica was under siege by Serbian forces.Avdic was convicted in absentia, and although he was held in jail from May 1996 to April 1997 in connection with that shooting, he went into hiding after being released and has not served a six-year sentence following his conviction.

He apparently has been working at John Morrell & Co. since 2004. There was no indication at his federal court appearance Thursday when he came to Sioux Falls or how he got here.

As Simko inquired whether Avdic understood the charges against him, Avdic’s responses, through an interpreter, hinted at a dark past when the Balkans slid into ethnic war a decade ago.

Simko asked if Avdic was being treated for an emotional or mental condition, and Avdic, wearing striped jail coveralls and black headphones, said he has been treated for two-and-a-half years after being tortured. “It is a long process to get well,” his interpreter, in Chicago, intoned solemnly over the court public address system.

http://www.argusleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070323/NEWS01/703230303/1001/NEWS

2007-03-27

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