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Wednesday, 5 September, 2001, 17:28 GMT 18:28 UK
Milosevic to sue tell-all prison guard
Slobodan Milosevic
Lawyers say the book invades Mr Milosevic's privacy
Lawyers for former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic say they will sue the Belgrade prison governor who wrote a book about Mr Milosevic's life in captivity.

They are seeking 1m Deutschmarks ($423,000) from the author, Dragisa Blanusa, who was moved from the jail to another job in the Serbian Interior Ministry after the book was published in July.


[Milosevic and his wife] never missed a chance to say something nice to each other. She would call him 'My dear, my little one, my sweet puppy'. He would respond, 'My pussycat, my beautiful one'

Dragisa Blanusa
In the book, I Guarded Milosevic, the former Yugoslav leader - who was ousted in October 2000 after losing the presidential election - is quoted as saying that he should have fled into exile while he still had a chance.

Lawyers described the book, which was also serialised in the Glas Javnosti newspaper, as a major violation of Mr Milosevic's privacy.

Mr Blanusa has justified his actions by saying that in the 89 days Mr Milosevic spent in Belgrade's Central Prison, he saw the former leader and his wife Mira Markovic "as they really are" - and that citizens deserve to know this.

Mr Milosevic was arrested on 1 April, on charges of corruption and abuse of power, and transferred to the international tribunal in The Hague on 28 June accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Sweet nothings

Mr Blanusa says he frequently chatted with Mr Milosevic, and drank whisky with him against prison regulations - but Milosevic aides say he must also have relied on secret recordings of the former president's conversations with his family and other visitors.

Mira Markovic
Visits by Milosevic's wife, Mira, were filled with tenderness
In the excerpts reproduced in the newspaper, the ex-governor paints a touching picture of Mr Milosevic's relations with his wife.

"They never missed a chance to say something nice to each other. She would call him 'My dear, my little one, my sweet puppy'. He would respond, 'My pussycat, my beautiful one'.

"Most of their time together was spent in mutual outpourings of tenderness. They looked at each other as a couple of very young lovers. They did not hide this in the presence of the guard, daughter Marija, or daughter-in-law Milica."

On one of his visits to Mr Milosevic's cell, Mr Blanusa says he found the former president in a mood of relaxed defiance.


The Germans are to blame for everything. They did it to get revenge for their defeats in previous wars

Slobodan Milosevic quoted in I Guarded Milosevic
"Listen warden, I am completely calm. My conscience is clear, I do not regret anything that I have done. I am the moral victor and you are aware that I am being held here as a political prisoner.

"We survived the bombing campaign and successfully stood up to Nato tyrants. No-one has ever launched such a successful reconstruction programme as we did after aggression."

'Mistake'

However, Mr Milosevic had a curious explanation for the tragedy that he is widely believed to have brought on his country by stirring up Serbian nationalism:

"If you ask me about who is responsible for all that has happened, for the break-up of Yugoslavia, I will tell you that the Germans are to blame for everything. They did it to get revenge for their defeats in previous wars."

Mr Blanusa says he once asked Mr Milosevic why he had not got out of Yugoslavia while he could, adding that he could now have been sunning himself on a beach somewhere, had he done so.

Mr Milosevic initially disagreed, but then conceded: "You're right. I made a mistake."

Mr Milosevic's lawyers said they wanted to prevent the book being published abroad in translation, and hoped to recall unsold copies of the Serbo-Croat edition.

They said Mr Milosevic had seen the book, and denounced it as "lies from beginning to end".

See also:

31 Aug 01 | Europe
Court rejects Milosevic challenge
03 Apr 01 | Europe
Milosevic the inmate
18 Apr 01 | Europe
Milosevic's life behind bars
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