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Monday, 20 August, 2001, 12:41 GMT 13:41 UK
Milosevic gets birthday visit
Milosevic's wife, daughter-in-law and grandson
Milosevic has been allowed to hug and kiss his family
Ex-Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic is spending his 60th birthday in detention at The Hague, with close family members around him.

His wife Mira, daughter-in-law Milica Gajic and grandson Marko have flown to the Netherlands to be with him, as he awaits trial on war crimes charges.

They are very satisfied to be together without glass, without microphones, so they can hug each other, kiss each other like very tight members of a family

Family lawyer
Dragoslav Ognjanovic
They arrived on Saturday, travelling on three-day visas.

Usual detention rules mean tribunal prisoners must remain behind a glass screen and communicate by microphone, but the family lawyer said they had been allowed close contact on this occasion.

"He feels fine and alert," said lawyer Dragoslav Ognjanovic, who accompanied the family group from Belgrade.

"He is very happy to be with his grandson, daughter-in-law and wife.

Milosevic at Hague
Milosevic continues to contest the legality of his detention
"Everything is going OK. They are very satisfied to be together without glass, without microphones so they can hug each other, kiss each other like very tight members of a family."

Tribunal officials have given away nothing about the visit, or whether birthday celebrations are being permitted.

"We are releasing no details about this visit, which is purely private," said spokesman Jim Landale.

Mr Milosevic's wife has visited him at The Hague on one previous occasion - also on a three-day visa.

Mira Markovic talks to an aide on the flight to the Netherlands
Markovic has requested a permenant visa
Milosevic family lawyers are now trying to get six-month or multiple-entry visas.

"We applied about 35 days ago for permanent visas for members of the family and lawyers from Belgrade," said Mr Ognjanovic.

"It means that [Mira] and other members of the family and the lawyers will be allowed to come to the Netherlands every time we need it or Mr Milosevic needs it."

Battling detention

Mr Milosevic's closest relatives are normally banned from travelling to European Union countries, under EU sanctions imposed on the former president.

Mr Milosevic has been awaiting trial at The Hague since 28 June, when he lost a legal battle to avoid extradition from Yugoslavia.

He is accused of war crimes in against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, but tribunal prosecutors have said he could also face charges over the wars in Croatia and Bosnia.

He continues to argue that his detention is illegal. A hearing has been scheduled for this Thursday so he can argue his case against detention.

See also:

19 Jul 01 | Europe
Milosevic wife makes prison visit
10 Apr 01 | Europe
What next for Mira Markovic?
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