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The BBC's Paul Wood in Belgrade
"Mr Milosevic's lawyers are blaming prison conditions for his continued heart problems"
 real 28k

Friday, 13 April, 2001, 20:57 GMT 21:57 UK
Milosevic back in jail
Supporters of Slobodan Milosevic
Milosevic's supporters say his illness is caused by prison
Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has returned to jail after two days of tests for heart problems in a Belgrade military hospital.

A police-escorted motorcade took the disgraced Yugoslav leader back to the city's central prison following a judicial ruling which found him fit enough for continued detention.

The locks slid back into place

Serbian judiciary source
Medical tests had earlier shown his health to be normal, although doctors say he has high blood pressure.

Mr Milosevic, who was toppled in a popular uprising six months ago and arrested on 1 April, denies charges of corruption and abuse of power.

He is also wanted by the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague for atrocities committed in Kosovo by Yugoslav troops under his command.

But Belgrade's new reformist rulers have insisted that their priority is to try him at home.

In addition to charges already brought, Mr Milosevic is being investigated for other alleged crimes, including political assassination, kidnap and electoral fraud.

Avoiding justice?

He was rushed to hospital on Wednesday night complaining of chest pains.

Quoting what it described as a well-informed source, the independent Beta news agency said he had been in "a state prior to a heart attack".

But doctors who performed coronary tests on Mr Milosevic reportedly found no evidence of heart disease.

Miroslav Vasic, his lawyer, said that he needed treatment for high blood pressure but that this could be administered in the prison.

The former president has been on suicide watch since his arrest, but officials say he made no attempt on his life.

A senior official in the Serbian Government suggested, however, that Mr Milosevic might be trying to use supposed health problems to avoid facing justice.

"We'll see a lot more of this sort of thing," he said in an interview with the BBC.

The Socialist Party has been demanding that its leader be released, claiming that his health is being jeopardised in prison.

The party says he is being exposed to "insufferable conditions" and is calling for him to be allowed to defend himself as a free man.

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See also:

11 Apr 01 | Europe
Milosevic goes to hospital
10 Apr 01 | Europe
What next for Mira Markovic?
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