Diplomat investigated for helping fugitive

September 3, 2008 1:24:19 PM PDT
Prosecutors in Serbia are questioning a Serb diplomat for helping a student at an upstate New York college flee the United States to avoid assault charges stemming from a brutal barroom brawl. Officials in Belgrade say Serbia's former Deputy Consul in New York -- Igor Milosevic -- is suspected of providing emergency travel documents to Miladin Kovacevic (koh-VAH'-cheh-vich).

Kovacevic is alleged to have severely beaten fellow University of Binghamton student Bryan Steinhauer of Brooklyn. The brawl in early May left the 22-year-old Steinhauer in a coma.

Kovacevic -- a SUNY-Binghamton basketball player -- fled to Serbia a month later after posting bail and reportedly obtaining new travel documents with help from Milosevic.

The diplomat was arrested yesterday for questioning. Serbian officials say he will be kept in prison for 48 hours, pending a judge's decision whether his detention should be extended beyond that period.

Serbia has refused to send back to the U.S. for trial.