British priest wanted on child sex charges should not be extradited - Kosovo court

PRISTINA (Reuters) - A former priest wanted on child sex abuse charges from the 1970s and 1980s should not be extradited to Britain because the crimes were committed too long ago, a court in Kosovo ruled on Monday.

Lawrence Soper was detained in the western town of Peja, where he had lived for 4-5 years under the name Andrew Charles Kingston, in May on an international arrest warrant. He is accused of sex offences while he was a teacher in Britain.

British media said the former abbot from Ealing, west London, now in his 70s, had jumped bail in 2011 and a European arrest warrant was issued.

“British citizen Andrew Charles Kingston Soper should not be extradited because offences he has been charged with exceeded the statute of limitations,” a spokeswoman at the Basic Court, the first instance court in Peja, said.

Soper will remain in custody and the prosecutor has three days to appeal the ruling, she said.

This is the second time authorities in Kosovo have rejected the extradition request. In June, a court in Pristina rejected the request, seeking more documents from British authorities.

Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; Editing by Ivana Sekularac and Janet Lawrence