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Doctor Reviews Serb Suspect’s Death

August 10, 1998

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) _ Prisoners held by the U.N. war crimes tribunal for former Yugoslavia discussed an uprising after a Serb suspect died during trial, a Serb doctor reportedly said today.

Dr. Slobodan Ivanovic visited the tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, last week, shortly after the death of Milan Kovacevic, a Bosnian Serb charged with genocide and crimes against humanity.

Kovacevic reportedly died of a heart attack in his prison cell. But Ivanovic said Kovacevic died slowly and painfully from a ruptured aorta after fruitlessly appealing for help for five hours.

``All prisoners ... pressed the alarm bells but there was no response. When the prison cells were finally opened all the prisoners rushed to help Kovacevic,″ Belgrade’s Beta news agency quoted Ivanovic as saying.

Ivanovic was quoted as saying the prisoners planned an uprising and a general strike in the aftermath of Kovacevic’s death.

The Yugoslav government has protested Kovacevic’s death, saying he was denied proper hospital treatment. The tribunal rejected the accusation as unfounded.

A representative of the U.N. tribunal press office said he had no information about a potential inmate uprising. He spoke on condition of anonymity.

The charges against Kovacevic, a former anesthesiologist and Prijedor mayor, stemmed from alleged atrocities committed against Muslims and Croats at three prison camps in the Prijedor region in northwestern Bosnia in 1992. He had pleaded innocent to all charges.

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