Sadiki’s arrest

ON OCTOBER 25 UN forces in Kosovo arrested Albanian fugitive Baki Sadiki, who was convicted in absentia in Slovakia and sentenced to 22 years in jail for producing and trafficking illegal drugs. Though the Slovak side has already begun talks aimed at securing his extradition, the whole situation may be complicated by the fact that Slovakia does not officially recognise Kosovo, private broadcaster TV Markíza reported on October 26.

ON OCTOBER 25 UN forces in Kosovo arrested Albanian fugitive Baki Sadiki, who was convicted in absentia in Slovakia and sentenced to 22 years in jail for producing and trafficking illegal drugs. Though the Slovak side has already begun talks aimed at securing his extradition, the whole situation may be complicated by the fact that Slovakia does not officially recognise Kosovo, private broadcaster TV Markíza reported on October 26.

Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák said that nothing stands in the way of Sadiki’s extradition to Slovakia and that only a couple of administrative issues have to be resolved.

“I think that the whole case is under control, and this operation will be resolved successfully within a matter of a few days,” Lajčák said, as quoted by the TASR newswire, adding that he has been in touch with his counterpart in Kosovo as well as Kosovo’s prime minister.

Sadiki was arrested as part of an Interpol operation called Infrared.

Lajčák said he was also in contact with the European Union Rule of Law (EULEX) Mission in Kosovo, which has become involved in mediation since Slovakia’s refusal to recognise Kosovo means it cannot communicate officially at a state-to-state level. However, Lajčák said that he knows the Kosovar partners very well and that he has been communicating with them informally, according to the SITA newswire.

Sadiki, one of three men accused in a particularly serious case of illegal production, possession and trading in narcotics and, more specifically, smuggling heroin from Turkey to Slovakia hidden in imported beach sandals, was sentenced in absentia to 22 years’ imprisonment by Prešov District Court on June 13, 2011. His lawyers filed an appeal but Prešov Regional Court rejected it in September 2011.

According to the prosecution, the three men were members of an organised group which in 2007 and 2008 trafficked at least 120 kilograms of heroin from Turkey to Slovakia and then distributed it on to Poland, Switzerland and Italy. The amount was enough to produce over 336,000 doses, worth some €3.35 million, SITA reported.

In several cases, the drugs are believed to have been stored temporarily in a boarding house in Starý Smokovec in the High Tatras, where the police seized 10 kilograms of heroin on September 19, 2008. The drugs are believed to have been smuggled via the Balkans and Sadiki was alleged to have been one of those managing the trade, according to SITA.

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