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London Court Grants Bail To Ganic, Former Bosnian Leader

Ejup Ganic in a 1998 file photo
LONDON (Reuters) -- A former member of the Bosnian wartime presidency, Ejup Ganic, who was arrested in Britain last week on suspicion of war crimes, was released on bail by the High Court in London today.

Ganic, 64, being held in London's Wandsworth prison, was granted bail by two judges "subject to stringent conditions," the domestic news agency Press Association reported.

He was arrested at London's Heathrow Airport on March 1 at the request of Serbian authorities.

At the time, British police said he was held under a provisional extradition warrant for alleged "conspiracy to murder with other named people and breach of the Geneva Convention, namely killing wounded soldiers."

Lord Justice Laws said a sum of 300,000 pounds ($447,600) had been provided as security by a "well-wisher" who was, the court understood, "a lady of substantial means."

He was bailed to appear in Westminster Magistrates' Court on April 13.

Under the bail conditions he must live at a specified address in London, which was not disclosed in court.

After his arrest, thousands of Bosnians protested outside the British and Serbian embassies in the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, demanding his release.

Ganic, who lives in Sarajevo, is one of 19 people wanted in connection with an attack by Bosnian forces on a retreating column of the former Yugoslav Peoples' Army (JNA) in Sarajevo in May 1992, one of the opening salvoes of a conflict that tore Bosnia apart.

Serbian authorities say scores of JNA troops were killed or wounded in the attack.

The other 18 people wanted by Belgrade are also former officials of Bosnia's wartime government.

Ganic is manager of the private School of Science and Technology in Sarajevo. He no longer holds public office.

The U.S.-brokered Dayton peace accord ended Bosnia's 1992-95 war, dividing the country in two autonomous regions, the Serb Republic and the Muslim-Croat federation.