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1,000 Demonstrate For Arrested Journalists

June 16, 1988

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) _ More than 1,000 people rallied in a Slovenian city Wednesday for the release of two jailed journalists and the election of one as president of the Slovenian Youth Organization, Yugoslavian reporters said.

Posters in the city of Maribor claimed that Janez Jansa and David Tasic, who have written articles critical of the military, were arrested illegally. In one article, Jansa wrote the military was planning a coup in Slovenia, Yugoslavia’s most liberal republic, a charge the military denied.

Military authorities detained Jansa May 31 and Tasic five days later in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana on charges of possessing a highly sensitive military document whose contents were not disclosed.

The posters showed pictures of the two journalists and Ivan Borstner, an army sergeant-major arrested last week on suspicion of having leaked the document to the journalists.

Jansa is one of three candidates for the presidency of the Slovenian Youth Organization. According to Yugoslav journalists in Slovenia, his election manifesto was read at the Maribor rally. Maribor is about 10 miles south of the Austrian border and 60 miles northeast of Ljubljana.

Jansa has called for the youth group to become an independent political force in Slovenia, said the reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity. It now is a member of the Socialist Alliance, a Communist-led mass organization.

A petition calling for the release of the trio was circulated at the rally. About 16,000 people have signed petitions for their release and companies, trade unions, church groups and Communist Party cells have also been pooling money into a special defense fund.

Also Wednesday, the Defense Board of Yugoslavia’s Parliament said it was concerned about public skepticism of the military authorities’ competence in investigating the case.

According to the Tanjug news agency, the board expressed ″concern over the spreading of unfounded rumours and statements that in advance express doubt and mistrust in the objectivity and correctness of the proceedings conducted by competent military, legal organs.″

On Tuesday, Joze Smole, president of the Slovenian Socialist Alliance, said military authorites should ″give the public a general idea of what sort of secrets the document contains.″

He also urged military investigators to complete their work as quickly as possible ″since any delay could only have an adverse effect on public opinion.″

A military investigative judge heard testimony by editors of the non- conformist youth weekly Mladina, which published articles by the two arrested journalists.

The judge is to hear testimony Thursday by editors from other publications that also carried articles by Jansa and Tasic.

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