The former executive of the Dinamo Football Club, Zdravko Mamic, on Thursday renounced all ties to Croatia, claiming it took away his soul, and his lawyers and the Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina opposed the new request of the Croatian judiciary for his extradition with nearly identical arguments.
A hearing on a request from Croatia for Mamić's extradition was held before a judge of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mirsad Strika, in Sarajevo, based on a detention order issued by the Zagreb County Court as part of an investigation into bribery of three judges of the Osijek County Court. The proceedings were initiated after Mamic, who is hiding in Bosnia and Herzegovina, publicly accused the Osijek judges of taking bribes in exchange for a favourable verdict for him in a trial in which he was charged with siphoning funds from Dinamo, for which he was given a final verdict and sentenced to six and a half years in prison.
The BiH Prosecutor's Office and Mamic's lawyers Ivica Rajić and Davor Martinovic have the same opinion on the request – that Bosnia and Herzegovina cannot and should not comply with it.
Prosecutor Oleg Cavka said at the hearing that after a detailed inspection of the request he found certain “legal anomalies,” so even though it was formally correct, the request for extradition does not meet the legal requirements because Mamic's case is a criminal offence of bribery, which is penalised differently in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.
The minimum sentence in Bosnia and Herzegovina is three months in jail, while the extradition agreement between that country and Croatia envisages a minimum sentence of one to four years in jail for cases where extradition is possible.
Mamic's lawyer Martinovic said there were also other reasons why extradition was not possible. He stressed that criminal offences Mamic had testified about had been committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, so they should be prosecuted there in accordance with the territoriality principle, and he said that extradition would violate Mamic's right to a fair trial.
He said his client was exposed to “media harangue” in Croatia.
Asked by the judge to comment on the request for extradition, Mamic held a speech describing himself as a fighter against corruption in Croatia and claiming that that caused him to be exposed to unfounded and politically orchestrated persecution.
“For me, Croatia no longer exists because it took away my soul,” Mamic said, adding he was planning to renounce Croatian citizenship but failed to do so.
He said that he didn't have a Croatian passport or ID card and that he didn't want to have them ever again.
However, judge Strika immediately banned him from travelling outside Bosnia and Herzegovina, confiscating his BiH passport and the decision will remain in force until a final decision on the request for extradition is made.
“This is not a simple case and I will do as I think I should,” judge Strika said.
According to lawyer Martinovic, there is no legal deadline for making the decision as the judge now has to bring the entire case before the trial chamber, which makes the decision, against which it is not possible to appeal.
The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina will also be deciding on Croatia's request for the extradition of Zdravko Mamic's brother Zoran, but their cases are being dealt with separately.