A South African court denied bail Friday to the convicted killer of Serbian warlord Arkan, saying he might try to flee to avoid extradition back to his native country.
Dobrosav Gavric was sentenced in absentia by Serbia in 2008 to 35 years in prison for killing Zeljko Arkan Raznatovic, Serbia's most infamous wartime paramilitary leader and mafia boss. It remains unclear who ordered the killing.
Gavric was living in South Africa under a false name with his wife and two children until police uncovered his true identity late last year during an investigation into another crime he was arrested for.
The applicant does not qualify for bail because he poses an inherent risk, that should he be released on bail, he would resist extradition to Serbia, magistrate Joe Magele told a packed courtroom in Cape Town.
Gavric's identity surfaced during a police investigation into the murder of a Cape Town underworld kingpin. Gavric was driving the gangster's car at the time of the assassination.
Gavric, who was also wounded in the hit, was charged with possession of cocaine found in the bullet-riddled car, and his identity was confirmed after Interpol cross-matched his fingerprints.
He has remained in custody at the request of Serbian authorities, who are seeking his extradition. South Africa's justice ministry, which is processing Serbia's request, was not immediately available for comment on its possible outcome.
Arkan, who was indicted by the U.N. war crimes tribunal for atrocities during the 1992-95 Bosnian war, was shot dead in the lobby of Belgrade's Intercontinental Hotel on January 15, 2000.
(Reporting by Wendell Roelf; editing by Philippa Fletcher)