Karadzic escaped arrest in Austria last year: report

VIENNA Fri Jul 25, 2008 6:30pm EDT

A worker checks the new issue of the day's newspaper, featuring Radovan Karadzic on the front page, in Belgrade July 22, 2008. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

A worker checks the new issue of the day's newspaper, featuring Radovan Karadzic on the front page, in Belgrade July 22, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Marko Djurica

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VIENNA (Reuters) - Radovan Karadzic evaded capture last year when Austrian police raided a Vienna apartment where he was staying but did not recognize the disguised war crimes suspect, an Austrian newspaper reported on Friday.

Karadzic, who was captured in Belgrade earlier this week after 11 years in hiding, was found disguised as a doctor. Serb authorities said the 63-year-old Karadzic, who had been indicted for genocide during the Bosnia wars, was barely recognizable in his white long beard.

The Kronen Zeitung said in a report that police found the bearded, white-haired man when they raided the apartment of the girlfriend of a Serb man suspected of having shot dead another Serb in a Vienna cafe in May 2007.

When the police asked him to identify himself, the report said that he showed a Croat passport under the name Petar Glumac and added he was in Vienna for training. It said that he

appeared calm and readily answered police questions about the suspect.

The Austrian Interior Ministry confirmed the raid, which took place on May 4, 2007, and said policemen who took part in recognized Karadzic as the man they saw in the apartment when they saw his pictures after his capture.

"When the pictures of Karadzic emerged after his arrest in Serbia, policemen who participated in the raid have reported that the man they have encountered there was probably Karadzic," Interior Ministry spokesman Wolfgang Gollia told Austrian television.

Gollia said the ministry was still making checks with Croat and Serb authorities and was interviewing the policemen and other witnesses before confirming the man's identity.

According to the Kronen Zeitung report, Karadzic lived in the apartment for three months and sold herbal solutions and ointments.

Earlier on Friday, another daily, Kurier, reported that Karadzic had practiced medicine under the name Pera as a miracle healer in the private homes of Serbs living in Vienna.

Bearing a Croat passport, Karadzic would not have needed a visa for entering Austria.

(Reporting by Boris Groendahl; editing by Sami Aboudi)

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