updated 9/2/2008 7:44:01 PM ET 2008-09-02T23:44:01

Police on Tuesday detained a former Serbian diplomat for questioning about allegations he helped a Serbian college student leave the United States to avoid assault charges stemming from a barroom brawl.

Igor Milosevic is accused of providing emergency travel documents to Miladin Kovacevic, who is alleged to have severely beaten schoolmate Bryan Steinhauer on May 4.

Kovacevic, who had been recruited to play basketball for Binghamton University in New York state, had surrendered his Serbian passport as a condition of bail but fled to Serbia in June, reportedly with the help of the new travel documents.

Milosevic was recalled from the United States and fired from Serbia's diplomatic service over the case, which has strained relations between Washington and Belgrade over the Serbian refusal to send Kovacevic back for trial.

Serbian law does not allow its citizens to be extradited, and Serb officials have suggested that U.S. authorities should hand over the full case file so they can consider whether he should be prosecuted in Serbia.

Meanwhile, Kovacevic has signed a contract to play for a basketball team in a regional Serbian league. His lawyer was quoted by Serbian media as saying Kovacevic hoped the move would help him fight depression.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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