BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — A former Serb college basketball player has started serving his two-year prison term after being sentenced for beating an American student into a coma, the case that had strained U.S.-Serbia relations.

A court in the northern town of Sombor said Friday that Miladin Kovacevic  arrived at a nearby prison on Thursday.

He was sentenced by a Belgrade court in November for severely beating fellow Binghamton University student Bryan Steinhauer of Brooklyn in May 2008 during a barroom brawl.

Kovacevic then jumped bail in the U.S. and fled to Serbia, which refused to extradite him, angering Washington.

Serbian authorities granted the 23-year-old a delay in starting to serve his sentence to take university exams.

(Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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