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Yugoslavia: Milosevic Imprisoned In Belgrade

Belgrade, 2 April 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic is in a Belgrade prison today following his surrender to police at his home. Milosevic was taken into custody early yesterday and brought to Belgrade's central prison. He surrendered to police after a siege lasting some 30 hours.

Milosevic told an investigating judge yesterday that he is not guilty of charges of abuse of power, criminal conspiracy, and stealing public funds.

In addition, the UN war crimes tribunal at The Hague indicted Milosevic in May 1999 for crimes against humanity in Kosovo. The Belgrade authorities are divided over whether to extradite Milosevic to The Hague. Tribunal spokeswoman Florence Hartmann said the prosecutors are expecting Milosevic to be extradited this year.

His lawyer, Toma Fila, says he plans to file a request tomorrow to have Milosevic set free pending his investigation on the charges. Fila said he does not expect the request will be granted.

The judge ruled that Milosevic will be detained for 30 days. Fila said that Milosevic is depressed and is taking tranquilizers.

Hague tribunal chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte says she has prepared a second arrest warrant for former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, for war crimes.

Del Ponte said in an interview with the Italian daily "La Reppublica" that the arrest warrant was for crimes in Bosnia. She did not give details.

Del Ponte said she was, "absolutely optimistic" that Milosevic would be handed over to the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague by the end of the year.

Del Ponte said the detention was a sign there could be cooperation between the UN tribunal and Yugoslav authorities.