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Iranian Leader Sues Yugoslav Critics

April 15, 1989

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) _ Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini has filed a criminal complaint against three Yugoslavs for criticizing his order that author Salman Rushdie be killed for writing ″The Satanic Verses,″ a newspaper reported.

The complaint was filed with the Belgrade district attorney’s office under a section of the Yugoslav criminal code that forbids ″public humiliation″ of foreign countries or their leaders.

Borba said Friday that the penalty for violating the law is up to three years imprisonment.

The newspaper said the complaint was filed against Stanislav Marinkovic, editor of Borba; Vesna Roganovic, a journalist for the paper, and Slobodan Selenic, a popular Yugoslav author.

Selenic, head of the Yugoslav Writers’ Union, was sued because of a statement to Borba last month about ″Khomeini’s frightening threat″ against Rushdie, Borba said. Marinkovic and Roganovic were cited for allowing the novel to be published, the newspaper said.

A Yugoslav secretary who answered the telephone at the Iranian Embassy said no one was available for comment. The holy month of Ramadan began a week ago.

Whether Khomeini will have his own day in a Yugoslav court was not clear. Borba said several Yugoslav lawyers were representing Khomeini.

Parts of ″The Satanic Verses″ considered offensive to some Moslems include a bordello scene in which prostitutes take the names of Mohammed’s wives, and the suggestion that the prophet wrote the holy Koran instead of receiving it from Allah.

The book has caused protests worldwide, and demonstrations over its publication have led to the deaths of at least 19 people in Pakistan and India. Two London bookstores in central London were set afire Sunday in an apparent campaign of intimidation aimed at stopping sales of the book.

London detectives refused to say whether more threats of violence have been received, but Scotland Yard said in a statement Friday night: ″Last Sunday’s incidents may be the start of a campaign against premises which sell, publicize or make available Salman Rushdie’s novel ’The Satanic Verses.‴

Rushdie, a 41-year-old British citizen born in Bombay, India, to Moslem parents, went into hiding after Khomeini issued his execution order Feb. 14.

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