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Last Updated:  Monday, 31 March, 2003, 11:22 GMT 12:22 UK
Milosevic wife denies murder role
Mirjana Markovic
Mrs Markovic has challenged police to issue an arrest warrant
The wife of ex-Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has angrily denied any link to the killing of one of her husband's former rivals.

Mira Markovic sent a fax to a Montenegrin newspaper, Publika, saying the suggestion that she ordered the murder of former Serb President Ivan Stambolic in 2000 was a "vile untruth".

Serbia's Deputy Prime Minister, Zarko Korac, said on Sunday that it was a "justifiable and logical assumption" that the order for the killing came from the Milosevic family.

The accusations against me essentially aim at destabilising my husband in The Hague
Mirjana Markovic
Mrs Markovic is currently in Moscow, but Serbian police have demanded that she return for questioning or face an international arrest warrant.

They also want to question Mr Milosevic, who is being tried for genocide at the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

Organised crime link

"It goes without saying that I have nothing to do with whatever crime that could have been committed in Yugoslavia," Mrs Markovic told Publika.

"The accusations against me essentially aim at destabilising my husband in The Hague and to tarnish the image of his brilliant defence."

We are dealing with a family which appears to be ordering murders
Deputy Prime Minister Zarko Korac
Police investigating the murder of Ivan Stambolic suspect his abduction and murder was organised and paid for by special police commander, Milorad Lukovic - who is also accused of plotting the assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic on 12 May.

Mr Zorac said Mr Lukovic would have acted on behalf of the then head of the secret police, Rade Markovic.

"Rade Markovic was also just a pawn in the hands of the married couple [Slobodan Milosevic and Mira Markovic]," he said.

"We are dealing with a family which appears to be ordering murders."

Family visit

Marija Milosevic said her mother was visiting her son, Marko Milosevic, in Moscow, and rejected reports that she had deliberately fled the country.

Let them issue a warrant
Mirjana Markovic, quoted by Marija Milosevic
She has said her mother is in a defiant mood, challenging the Serbian authorities to issue the extradition warrant.

An adviser at the Serbian and Montenegrin embassy in Moscow said Mrs Markovic had been asked through a lawyer to return to Belgrade, but no official request for her extradition had yet been passed to the Russian authorities.

Mr Stambolic, a former Serbian president, disappeared while jogging in Belgrade two months before the October 2000 presidential election, which led to Mr Milosevic being driven from office.

There was much speculation at the time that he would run against Mr Milosevic.




SEE ALSO:
Serbia's 'elite' enemy within
26 Mar 03  |  Europe


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