Captain Dragan in Coffs lock-up
ONE of Australia’s most wanted men, accused war criminal Dragan Vasiljkovic, was detained in custody at the Coffs Harbour Police Station yesterday following his arrest after 43 days on the run.
The former Serbian paramilitary leader was reportedly captured by Australian Federal Police at the Harwood Slipway onboard a 10-metre yacht, just before 5pm, Wednesday evening.
His arrest has brought to a close a worldwide Interpol manhunt.
In a day of high drama, federal officers yesterday presented an arrest warrant to the Coffs Harbour Local Court.
Vasiljkovic was set to appear before a magistrate over an extradition order to face a War Crimes Tribunal but due to the seriousness of the case, it was referred straight to Sydney.
During the Balkans War, it is alleged Vasiljkovic ordered the abuse, interrogation and death of Croatian prisoners.
The 55-year-old, who has lived in Australia since the conflict under the alias of Daniel Snedden, was transported in a Corrective Services truck.
NSW Police said he would be taken to Grafton awaiting transportation to Sydney’s Silverwater jail.
Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor said he will have the chance to make representations why he shouldn’t be surrendered to Croatia.
In a statement, Mr O’Connor said he would make a decision about Snedden’s extradition ‘as soon as is reasonably practicable’.
Serbian leaders in Australia yesterday continued to strongly oppose his extradition.
“In the eyes of many Serbs he is a man of honour,” said Iljia Glisic, a supporter of Mr Vasiljkovic.
“This will be nothing more than a show trial that puts his life in danger and not with some justification.”
Vasiljkovic’s lawyers have also contested the extradition order, arguing that he would not get a fair hearing in Croatia.
Captain Dragan, as he is also known, has been hunted by police and Interpol since March 30.