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Archive for Thursday, April 12, 2001

Ousted Serb strongman rushed to hospital

April 12, 2001

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— Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was rushed to the hospital late Wednesday after suffering chest pains in his prison cell, his lawyer said.

"There were heart problems that necessitated his transferal to the military hospital in Belgrade," said Milosevic's lawyer, Toma Fila. "It was nothing too dramatic."

Fila said he expected the Belgrade district court to make an announcement about Milosevic's condition today. He is known to have high blood pressure.

The state-run Tanjug news agency said Milosevic was admitted and was undergoing tests. The independent Beta news agency, citing unidentified sources, reported that he was in a "state prior to a heart attack."

The transfer came only hours after Milosevic's Socialist Party issued a statement claiming that the former leader's health was jeopardized by his imprisonment.

Jailed on April 1, the 59-year-old Milosevic has been held in a specially refurbished cell in Belgrade's Central Prison pending an investigation into corruption and abuse of power during his 13-year rule.

The Socialists demanded their leader be "allowed to defend himself as a free man." They did not make any specific statement about his physical or medical condition. The party, citing "bitterness at a media lynching campaign against Milosevic and his family," also urged an end what it called the "harassment" of his relatives.

Since his dramatic arrest after a two-day standoff with police, the Socialists have insisted that Milosevic's detention was illegal and demanded a special parliamentary investigation.

On the day he surrendered, a Belgrade judge ordered Milosevic detained for 30 days pending the investigation. He also could face charges for resisting arrest during the standoff.

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