Croatia extradites former spy chief to Germany

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Photo - FILE - A May 24, 2012, photo from files showing Josip Perkovic, ex-Yugoslav suspected secret police member as he uses a mobile phone outside a court building in Zagreb, Croatia. Croatia has extradited its former spy chief to Germany, where he is accused of masterminding the murder of a Yugoslav dissident in 1983. Croatian state TV says Josip Perkovic was handed over to German authorities at the Zagreb airport and flown to Munich on a commercial flight on Friday, Jan. 24, 2014. The dissident, Stjepan Djurekovic, was killed in Germany, allegedly by the Communist Yugoslav secret service. (AP Photo/Pixsell, Anto Magzan, File)  CROATIA OUT
FILE - A May 24, 2012, photo from files showing Josip Perkovic, ex-Yugoslav suspected secret police member as he uses a mobile phone outside a court building in Zagreb, Croatia. Croatia has extradited its former spy chief to Germany, where he is accused of masterminding the murder of a Yugoslav dissident in 1983. Croatian state TV says Josip Perkovic was handed over to German authorities at the Zagreb airport and flown to Munich on a commercial flight on Friday, Jan. 24, 2014. The dissident, Stjepan Djurekovic, was killed in Germany, allegedly by the Communist Yugoslav secret service. (AP Photo/Pixsell, Anto Magzan, File) CROATIA OUT
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ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — Croatia on Friday extradited its former spy chief to Germany, where he is accused of masterminding the murder of a Yugoslav dissident in 1983.

Croatian state TV said Josip Perkovic was handed over to German authorities at the Zagreb airport and flown to Munich on a commercial flight.

The dissident, Stjepan Djurekovic, was killed in Germany, allegedly by the former Yugoslav secret service, which was notorious for eliminating opponents of the communist regime.

Perkovic, 68, was a ranking Yugoslav secret service official in the 1980s. When Croatia split from Yugoslavia during the war in the 1990s, he helped create Croatia's spy agency and organized the smuggling of arms for its forces fighting the federal army.

Perkovic has repeatedly denied having anything to do with the murder of Djurekovic, who was the president of Yugoslavia's state INA oil company before fleeing the country in 1982 and becoming active in Croatian nationalist emigre circles in Germany.

Djurekovic was murdered on July 28, 1983, in the Bavarian village of Wolfratshausen near Munich. In 2005, Germany put out an international arrest warrant for Perkovic, implicating him in the murder.

Croatia, which joined the EU in July, initially refused to extradite Perkovic, citing local laws banning the handover. Under EU and German pressure, Croatia amended its laws in line with the bloc's standards.

Two Croatian high courts rejected Perkovic's appeals against the extradition. He was picked up by police at his Zagreb home on Friday and driven to the airport.

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Dusan Stojanovic in Belgrade, Serbia, contributed to this report.

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