Serbia state prosecutor moves to ban 3 violent soccer fan groups in wake of Frenchman’s death

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Serbs seek to ban fan groups after Frenchman dies

BELGRADE, Serbia — Serbian prosecutors will request that three soccer fan groups with a history of violence and suspected of recently killing a French fan be banned, a spokesman said Thursday.

Tomo Zoric said the prosecutor’s office will submit a motion with Serbia’s Constitutional Court to formally ban the groups affiliated with Belgrade clubs Red Star, Partizan and Rad.

Partisan supporters are believed to be behind a brutal attack earlier this month on 28-year-old French soccer fan Brice Taton, who died in a Belgrade hospital on Tuesday.

Taton died of brain and other injuries he suffered during the Sept. 17 attack ahead of the Europa League match between Partizan and French club Toulouse.

Police have arrested 10 people believed to have been involved in the attack. They are expected to be charged with first-degree murder and face up to 40 years in prison.

“Those who charge someone with (baseball) bats to injure or kill better think twice, or they’ll end up in jail for 40 years,” Zoric told B-92 TV.

The hooligans are also believed to be behind the burning of the U.S. embassy in Belgrade in February last year during nationalist protests against the recognition of Kosovo by Western states.

The fan clubs are apparently infiltrated by far-right ultranationalist groups that have recently attacked foreigners and threatened a gay parade in Belgrade.

The state prosecutor last week requested a ban of two extremist groups that have advocated violence.

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