An Albanian soccer fan detained on a Serbian warrant for allegedly flying a drone with a nationalist banner during a high-risk match has asked for political asylum in Croatia to avoid extradition.
Ismail Morinaj was arrested in Croatia in June on a Serbian warrant. A court in Dubrovnik agreed last week to extradite the 35-year-old Albanian to Belgrade.
Morinaj's lawyer Darko Butigan said Monday (31 July) that his client has appealed the extradition ruling and also sought political asylum in Croatia. Butigan says Morinaj fears he would not get a fair trial in Serbia.
Violence interrupted an UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying match between Serbia and Albania. Serbian fans chanted "ubij, ubij, Šiptara" ("kill the Albanians") from kickoff. The game was called off after a drone, allegedly piloted by Morinaj, carrying a banner featuring Greater Albania landed on the pitch.
Belgrade-Tirana tensions have been high over breakaway Kosovo, a formerly Serbian province dominated by ethnic Albanians.