The United States Senate is getting involved in a growing conflict between the United States and Serbia over the unlawful flight of Miladin Kovacevic, a star basketball player who was on bail for an assault on college student, Bryan Steinhauer. Both were students at Binghamton College. Steinhauer has been in a coma since the attack and now weighs only 100 pounds.
The State Department has demanded the return of Kovacevic, who fled after receiving bail. At the time, as is common, he agreed to surrender his passport and not leave the country. The Serbian consulate arranged for the bail and then secretly gave him emergency travel papers allowing him to fly back to Serbia through Germany. (The officials were later dismissed by Serbia).
Kovacevic attacked Steinhauer with two other men on May 4th at the Rathskeller bar, continuing to kick him on the floor after he lost consciousness. Kovacevic is 6-foot-9-inch and weighs 260-pounds. Steinhauer weighed 130 pounds. Some witnesses say the fight was over the fact that Steinhauer danced with the girl of one of the men while others claim that there was a groping incident. Some also claimed that Steinhauer threw the first punch. Even if that allegation were true, it does not explain why all of the three men ganged up on Steinhauer and beat him into a coma. That is probably whey Kovacevic decided that the best defense was to flee the jurisdiction.
Kovacevic appears to have gotten over any grief or embarrassment — he reportedly signed a contract with a Serbian basketball team.
Serbia insists that it has no extradition treaty with the United States and thus cannot deport him.
This is only the latest diplomatic dust up over criminal defendants who leave the country, here.