Page last updated at 17:42 GMT, Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Belgrade prison guards suspended

Milorad Ulemek (July 2005)
Milorad Ulemek was a member of the Red Berets special police force

Serbian authorities have suspended 11 guards at a Belgrade prison, amid reports that one of its most high-profile killers was planning to escape.

A replica gun was recently found in the cell of Milorad Ulemek at the central prison in the Serbian capital.

He is serving 40 years for the murder of Serb prime minister Zoran Djindjic and former president Ivan Stambolic.

Prison official Milan Obradovic said CCTV footage had failed to reveal who had given Ulemek the fake gun and when.

Officials believe the former policeman was planning to use it to escape during a transfer to a military hospital.

Replica pistol

Mr Obradovic, speaking at a news conference, confirmed that 11 guards at the central prison had been suspended, but did not give any further details.

Journalists were shown the replica of a Colt pistol, which Mr Obradovic said could be bought at any bargain store.

Ulemek, an ex-French Foreign Legionnaire, was one of eight people convicted in 2005 for the murder in 2000 of Mr Stambolic.

In 2007 he was one of 12 people found guilty of the murder of Mr Djindjic in 2003.

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