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Top Bosnian official Fahrudin Radoncic arrested for obstructing justice

Police in Sarajevo have arrested Fahrudin Radoncic, head of a party in the ruling coalition and founder of Bosnia's largest newspaper. The arrest comes weeks before the country formally applies for EU membership.

Fahrudin Radoncic, a member of the Bosnian parliament and leader of the ruling coalition's Union for Better Future (SBB) party, was taken into police custody Monday for obstructing justice. Police raided several other locations, including the offices of the "Dnevni Avaz" newspaper.

SBB officials described the arrest as being carried out by individuals of the "judicial mafia," while the newspaper's editors said the raid was "a brutal pressure on media freedom and an attempt of intimidation."

Bosnian officials defended their actions, saying they were only targeting Radoncic's offices in the same building.

Crime and corruption

The arrest of Radoncic, 58, comes weeks before Sarajevo is expected to formally apply for membership in the European Union. The fallout from the media mogul's arrest may be limited if he is freed from police detention before trial. Several Bosnian government officials have been tried for organized crime and corruption, with none convicted so far.

Radoncic's arrest followed that of two other SBB members, arrested for intimidating a witness in the trial of Balkan drug lord Naser Kelmendi.

Kelmendi was arrested in Kosovo in 2013 for his involvement in organized crime and the murder of Bosnian warlord Ramiz Delalic in 2007. Kelmendi was not handed over to Bosnian authorities because it does not have an extradition treaty with Kosovo. He is now being tried in Kosovo.

Radoncic has denied any links with the drug lord.

mg/cmk (Reuters, dpa)

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