BELGRADE, Serbia – A Serbian basketball player who fled the United States after a bar brawl that left a fellow American student in a coma was arrested Tuesday, police said.
Spokesman for Serbia's prosecution office Tomo Zoric told The Associated Press that Miladin Kovacevic was detained on suspicion that he "inflicted severe bodily harm" to Bryan Steinhauer during the fight in a bar in upstate New York last May.
Zoric said that the arrest followed a decision earlier this month by U.S. authorities to hand over an investigating file on Kovacevic's case to the Serbian judiciary.
It was not immediately clear if or when Kovacevic, 21, will be formally charged. He is to be questioned by an investigative Serbian judge who will decide whether to keep him in prison and open formal investigation.
Kovacevic's lawyer, Borivoje Borovic, said Kovacevic has been detained for questioning. Kovacevic's father, Petar, told The Associated Press that his son "voluntarily went to a police station for questioning."
Serbia's police media office said that a former Serbian consul in New York also was arrested Tuesday. The consul allegedly helped Kovacevic by providing emergency travel documents that helped Kovacevic flee the U.S. last June.
Both the ex-consul and Kovacevic are suspected of forging the travel documents, Zoric said.
Kovacevic, who played basketball for Binghamton University, jumped bail after being charged with assault in upstate New York. Bryan Steinhauer, 22, of Brooklyn, only recently emerged from a coma he suffered during the brawl.
The United States has been pressing the Serbian government to hand over Kovacevic. The case has strained relations between Washington and Belgrade, which has insisted its laws do not allow extradition.
Meanwhile, Kovacevic has signed a contract to play for a basketball team in a regional Serbian league.