French court: Free ex-Kosovo leader

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

PARIS — A French court has or­dered the re­lease of a jailed for­mer prime min­is­ter of Kosovo pend­ing a de­ci­sion on whether to ex­tra­dite him to Ser­bia, where he’s wanted on war-crimes charges.

Over­turn­ing an ear­lier de­ci­sion, the court in the eastern French city of Col­mar said in a state­ment Thurs­day that Ra­mush Harad­i­naj can leave the jail but must stay in France un­der ju­di­cial su­per­vi­sion while his case is be­ing stud­ied.

Ser­bia’s gov­ern­ment for­mally re­quested his ex­tra­di­tion af­ter French po­lice de­tained Harad­i­naj last week at Basel Mul­house Frieburg air­port. The ar­rest has an­gered Kosovo, where law­mak­ers called on the Euro­pean Union to in­ter­vene to se­cure his re­lease. Harad­i­naj, a for­mer guer­rilla fighter in Kosovo’s 1998-99 war for in­de­pen­dence from Ser­bia, was cleared of war-crimes charges by a U.N. tri­bunal.

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