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The BBC's Paul Anderson in Belgrade
"Mr Milosevic denies benefiting from the $390m he is accused of conspiring to steal"
 real 28k

The BBC's David Shukman
"More and more of his allies are to be rounded up"
 real 56k

Toma Fila, Mr Milosevic's lawyer
says he does not believe Mr Milosevic's appeal for bail will be successful
 real 28k

Dushan Ignatovic, Yugoslav Lawyers Committee
Explains the new charges against Mr Milosevic
 real 28k

Tuesday, 3 April, 2001, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK
Milosevic loses bail appeal
Yugoslav special forces
Three attempts were needed to arrest Milosevic
The former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic has lost his appeal to be released from prison pending investigation on charges of corruption and abuse of power.

His lawyer, Toma Fila, told reporters that a court in Belgrade had rejected an appeal filed by Mr Milosevic on Monday, adding that he had no explanation for the judges' decision.


There will be no automatic extradition. National dignity is above a handful of dollars

President Kostunica
Mr Milosevic was arrested on Sunday along with several aides on suspicion of siphoning off state customs funds.

Earlier, President Vojislav Kostunica criticised the arrest, describing the police action as "clumsy and not well thought out".

No extradition

He said he himself had only been told about the operation after it had started.

Speaking at a news conference in Belgrade, Mr Kostunica also said the extradition of Mr Milosevic to the International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague was not his government's immediate priority.

Vojislav Kostunica
Kostunica: Criticised the Hague tribunal
The president said his country was ready to cooperate with the tribunal, but added that the former Yugoslav president must answer primarily to his own people.

The United States agreed Monday to free up $50m dollars in loans to Yugoslavia after the country arrested Mr Milosevic.

Mr Kostunica said, however, that $50m "is really very little, especially compared with the damage to Yugoslavia caused by Nato," in its 1999 air war.

Co-operation

World leaders having been putting pressure on Belgrade for it to extradite Mr Milosevic, but President Kostunica criticised the tribunal for pursuing "selective justice".

He said the international court had failed to indict leaders of other former Yugoslav republics and even the Nato leaders responsible for the bombing of Serbia.


The procedure was clumsy and not well coordinated

President Kostunica
"If that would come about, we could start thinking of the validity of co-operation with The Hague tribunal," he said.

Mr Kostunica said his predecessor had great responsibility for damage to the country, but also blamed the international community for Yugoslavia's violent break-up.

Arrest

The operation to arrest Mr Milosevic entailed a 26-hour-long standoff between the former president, together with some 30 armed personal guards, and special police units attempting to storm the villa before he agreed to surrender.

"This awkward and confused action could have caused bloodshed," he said.

Yugoslav officials have not ruled out charging Mr Milosevic with assassination, abduction and armed rebellion.

New charges

Serbia's Interior Minister Dusan Mihajlovic has said the former leader could face the death penalty.

"We have indications that Milosevic was also involved in serious crimes which carry the death penalty. But we are talking about investigations, we need proof," he said.

So far, the former head of state faces the following accusations:

  • Abuse of power to enrich himself and a circle of cronies.

  • Inciting his guards to shoot at police officers at the time of his arrest.

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See also:

02 Apr 01 | Europe
US approves Yugoslav aid
01 Apr 01 | Europe
Sleepy Belgrade in two moods
01 Apr 01 | Media reports
Regional leaders welcome Milosevic arrest
01 Apr 01 | Europe
Belgrade's sigh of relief
02 Apr 01 | Europe
Belgrade press review
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