Milosevic took wrong drugs
Nicola Leske – Reuters March 13, 2006
Note how the following Reuters report implies that Milosevic took the wrong drugs. No mention that he may have been given or deliberately fed these drugs. The unspoken suggestion being that Milosevic's death was inadvertant rather than murder. To substantiate this, "experts" are quoted with no mention given to what he may have decided to reveal had he been convicted. And only passing reference to the fact act that in the days prior to his death, Milosevic claimed that others were tring to poison him. Ed.
Slobodan Milosevic took drugs that worsened his health before dying in prison, a Dutch expert said on Monday, as the former Yugoslav president's family tried to decide whether to bury him in Serbia or Russia.
Adding to controversy over Milosevic's death just months before an expected verdict in his war crimes trial, Russia expressed its "distrust" of proceedings and pressed The Hague tribunal to allow its doctors to examine post mortem results.
Groningen University toxicologist Donald Uges told Reuters he thought Milosevic had knowingly taken harmful medicines to improve his case for going for medical treatment to Russia, where his wife, son and brother live.
Milosevic's son Marko is expected to collect his father's body later on Monday or on Tuesday for burial.
Marko said the family wanted the funeral in Belgrade, but might ask for a temporary burial in Moscow if the Serbian authorities failed to guarantee the safety of his mother Mira Markovic, who fled Serbia from corruption charges in 2003.
Milosevic, 64, who suffered from a heart condition and high blood pressure and was found dead in bed in his cell on Saturday, had faced a possible life sentence if convicted.
"I don't think he took his medicines for suicide -- only for his trip to Moscow ... that is where his friends and family are. I think that was his last possibility to escape The Hague," toxicologist Uges said. "I am so sure there is no murder."
Uges said tests he conducted two weeks ago on Milosevic's blood showed traces of rifampicin -- a drug used against leprosy and tuberculosis that would have neutralised other medicines.
A preliminary autopsy report on Sunday showed Milosevic had died of a heart attack, but toxicology tests were still under way. The tribunal said it expected results later this week.
The autopsy was conducted by Dutch scientists and attended by Serbian pathologists. Serbia said the autopsy had been very professional and the whole procedure filmed.
But Russian news agencies quoted Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying Moscow did not trust the autopsy results and wanted its doctors to examine the results of the post mortem.
Last month, the tribunal rejected a request by Milosevic to be allowed to travel to Moscow for specialist medical care.
His lawyer said Milosevic feared he was being poisoned with the wrong drugs in a bid to silence him, and wrote to Russia the day before he died asking for help.
"The central issue is whether or not Mr Milosevic was receiving the proper medical treatment," he told journalists.
Saying she was furious Milosevic's victims had been denied justice, U.N. chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte suggested he might have killed himself to evade a verdict, noting that former Croatian Serb leader Milan Babic committed suicide at the jail last week.
A spokeswoman for the U.N. tribunal said it was too early to say whether the heart attack might have been caused by poisoning or whether suicide could be ruled out, adding that an inquiry ordered by court president Fausto Pocar was continuing.
The man branded the "Butcher of the Balkans" had been on trial for four years charged with 66 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes involving conflicts in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo that tore Yugoslavia apart in the 1990s.
The tribunal said it would hold a hearing on Tuesday at 0800 GMT that was expected to formally close the Milosevic trial.
Pathologists said he died of a "myocardial infarction" that could be explained by two heart conditions he suffered from. A myocardial infarction is usually caused by a blockage in one of the coronary arteries that supplies blood to the heart.
Cardiologists treating Milosevic had warned he was at risk of a hypertensive emergency, when surges in blood pressure can damage the heart, kidneys and central nervous system.
Milosevic "was killed by the Hague Tribunal," Mira Markovic said in a Sunday interview with Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti.
"Slobodan was working too much ... almost every day without any rest, with bad food, not enough fresh air ... He was already sick for a long time and getting worse," she said.
No State Burial
Few in Serbia showed grief over the death of Milosevic, who ruled from 1990 until his overthrow in 2000.
Since then, Belgrade has turned westwards and is under mounting pressure to arrest Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his military commander Ratko Mladic, both accused of genocide, as a price for progress on European Union membership.
Milosevic's Socialist Party and the ultranationalist Radical Party have demanded a state funeral and burial in the "Avenue of Heroes" section of Belgrade's main cemetery.
But Belgrade mayor Nenad Bogdanovic said he would not authorise burial in that section, which is reserved for distinguished citizens, including assassinated Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, who extradited Milosevic to The Hague in 2001.
Marko Milosevic said he would ask Russia for permission for a temporary burial in Moscow unless his mother's safety could be assured in Serbia. Serbian President Boris Tadic has said he will not grant Mira an amnesty and ruled out a state funeral.
"I just lost my father and do not want to risk my mother," Marko told Russia's 1st Channel television.
Mira Markovic's lawyers said they were offering guarantees she would appear in a Serb court to answer corruption charges so she could attend the funeral.
A Serbian court dropped all charges against Marko Milosevic last year, a controversial decision made after the main witness against him unexpectedly withdrew testimony that Marko and others had threatened him with a chainsaw.
(Additional reporting by Alexandra Hudson and Wendel Broere in Amsterdam)
Last updated 15/03/2006