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Wednesday, 27 February, 2002, 13:29 GMT
Milosevic renews release demand
Slobodan Milosevic
Milosevic says isolation is harming his defence
Slobodan Milosevic has made a fresh demand for his release from custody, saying it is hindering his ability to defend himself at his war crimes trial.

You should release me. You know full well I am not going to escape

Slobodan Milosevic
He clashed bitterly on Wednesday with trial judge Richard May as he insisted he was being treated unjustly.

The outburst came on the 11th day of his trial for genocide and crimes against humanity.

"A basic right is the right to defence," Mr Milosevic. "I have been denied this right through isolation."

Slobodan Milosevic
Milosevic charges
  • Genocide
  • Crimes against humanity
  • Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions
  • Violations of the laws or customs of war

    Click here for a full list of charges

  • He insisted that he would not abscond if he were freed.

    "I am not going to run away from this place of force and injustice, where my people and my country are on trial," he said.

    "You should release me. You know full well I am not going to escape."

    Judge May told him the court would consider his request, but told him: "We are not impressed by your political points.

    "You have made them a great many times and they do not improve with repetition."

    Mr Milosevic's previous complaints have included:

    • his wife being denied a visa - since granted - to visit him
    • his telephone not working, preventing him communicating with his lawyers
    • "false witnesses" being used against him

    The trial heard on Wednesday from the ninth prosecution witnesses, 24-year-old Besnik Sokoli.

    He testified that Serb police had raided his village of Pec, shooting civilians and setting houses on fire.

    He tried to escape, he said, but was forced back and was beaten and interrogated.

    Mr Milosevic is facing a total of 66 charges.

    The hearing could last two years, with 350 witnesses set to be called by the United Nations.

    See also:

    25 Feb 02 | Media reports
    Serbian press split on Milosevic trial
    19 Feb 02 | Europe
    Kostunica attacks Milosevic trial
    18 Feb 02 | Europe
    Milosevic defence transcript
    19 Feb 02 | Europe
    The Milosevic case: Timeline
    22 Feb 02 | Europe
    Milosevic surprises prosecution
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