Serbia case against student wanted in US postponed

BELGRADE, Serbia – A Serbian court on Monday suspended the proceedings against a former university student wanted in the U.S. for allegedly beating an American classmate into a coma.

A municipal court in Belgrade postponed the case against Miladin Kovacevic, 22, after it failed to persuade witnesses in the U.S. to testify by video link about the bar brawl in upstate New York in May. 

The fight left Bryan Steinhauer, of Brooklyn, New York, in a coma for months, while Kovacevic left for Serbia in June after he was issued emergency travel documents by Serbian diplomats in New York. Both were students of Binghamton University and Kovacevic played on the basketball team.

The case has strained relations between Washington and Belgrade. The U.S. has insisted that Kovacevic be tried in New York, but Belgrade refuses to hand him over saying the country’s laws do not allow for extradition.

Serbian officials have said that talks are under way with the U.S. to try to settle the dispute.

Kovacevic’s lawyer Borivoje Borovic said no date has been set for the next hearing in Serbia. He said that the court has received no response to its appeal that the witnesses of the U.S. fight testify in the Serbia proceedings.

The state Tanjug news agency reported that the proceedings will continue once a solution is found in the ongoing negotiations. The agency said this could happen in April.

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