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The BBC's Jonathan Charles
"Mr. Milosevic's cell was prepared days ago"
 real 56k

Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica
"In order for the country to survive, no one can be untouchable"
 real 56k

Zarko Korac, Serbian Deputy Prime Minister
"He was in a pretty bad mental state.... he was saying he would kill himself and his family"
 real 56k

Vladimir Krisljanin, Serb Socialist Party
"The accusations against him are groundless"
 real 28k

Sunday, 1 April, 2001, 09:01 GMT 10:01 UK
Milosevic arrested
Cars leave Milosevic residence
Cars speed away from Milosevic villa after the arrest
Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has been arrested and taken to prison, where he is due to face questioning later on Sunday.


It's Finished - Milosevic is Arrested!

Headline in Ekspres Politika
His arrest came in the early hours of the morning, after a heavily-armed standoff at his Belgrade villa, where the ex-leader had been surrounded by police for nearly 36 hours.

A convoy of five cars was seen speeding away from the scene. BK TV showed footage of the car carrying Mr Milosevic entering Belgrade's central prison and the security gates closing behind it.

Serbian Justice Minister Vladan Batic said Mr Milosevic had not yet been formally charged, but would face questioning by an investigating judge on charges of abuse of power and financial corruption.

Belgrade Central prison
A white car believed to be carrying Milosevic entered the prison at dawn
Under Yugoslav law, a judge must decide within 72 hours whether Mr Milosevic will remain in custody.

Initially, suspects can be detained for one month, which can later be extended to six months.

Mr Milosevic is wanted on war crimes charges by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, but so far the Belgrade authorities have been unwilling to consider extraditing him.

A number of people who tried to prevent Mr Milosevic's arrest have themselves now been detained, including several of his bodyguards.

They are charged with illegally possessing and using arms during the first failed police attempt to detain Milosevic on Friday night.

Taken alive

Earlier during the stand-off, Mr Milosevic had boasted that he would "not go to jail alive".

As it happened
Fri 1800 GMT:
Serb media report Milosevic's arrest
2200 GMT:
Milosevic addresses supporters
Midnight GMT:
Police storm villa
Sat 0430 GMT:
Riot police clear area round villa
Sun 0400 GMT
Milosevic surrenders
But top official from ex-leader's Socialist Party, Vladimir Ivkovic, said Mr Milosevic had decided to give himself up of his own free will.

Government negotiators had spent several hours inside trying to secure a peaceful end to the stand-off, amid speculation until the last minute that force would have to be used.

Mr Milosevic was thought to have been holed up in the villa with his wife and daughter and about 20 well-armed and possibly drunken bodyguards.

Sloboban Milosevic and wife Mira Markovic
The end of the Mira and Slobo show
Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Zarko Korac told the BBC that the ex-president was in a distraught mental state prior to his arrest.

According to officials who had seen him, "he was unbalanced, he was threatening, showing his gun - he was saying he would kill himself and his family," Mr Korac said.

Mr Milosevic's wife, Mira Markovic. and his daughter Maria are still reported to be inside the villa.

Most Belgrade newspapers published special Sunday morning editions, covering the detention of the former president.

"It's Finished - Milosevic is Arrested!" read the splash headline in Ekspres Politika.

Deadline

The arrest coincides with the expiry of a US deadline for the Yugoslav Government to detain the former president or risk losing substantial American economic aid and loans from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Police at Milosevic villa
Yugoslav special police search the gatehouse at Milosevic's villa
The White House has said nothing publicly about the situation, partly in an effort to avoid complicating matters further for the Yugoslav authorities.

US officials had indicated that the arrest of Mr Milosevic would be regarded as an important first step but Washington still wants to see him brought before the war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

A decision on whether to release some $50m of aid is expected on Monday; but despite the fact that President Kostunica shows no signs of preparing to extradite Mr Milosevic, US officials say the Bush administration is expected to recommend that the funds be released.

The UK has welcomed the arrest in the name of people seeking peace and justice in the Balkans.

"It is another important step towards bringing Milosevic and his cronies to book for their crimes against humanity," Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said.

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See also:

01 Apr 01 | Europe
Europe hails Milosevic arrest
01 Apr 01 | Europe
In pictures: Milosevic held
31 Mar 01 | Europe
Media confusion in Belgrade
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