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Yugoslavia Journalist Arrested

August 16, 2000

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) _ An independent journalist has been arrested and sent to serve a five-month prison term to which he was sentenced last year over an article, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

Zoran Lukovic, who used to work for Dnevni Telegraf daily before it was closed by the government, was apparently snatched by police while registering his car in a Belgrade police station, his wife Ivana said, according to the daily Blic.

Lukovic was sentenced last March over a suit by Health Minister Milovan Bojic over an article about the killing of a doctor in Belgrade in front of Bojic’s home. Lukovic’s article said the slain doctor had been critical of Bojic.

Bojic sued Lukovic saying that the article implied he was behind the killing.

Blic said that Lukovic was sent to Padinska Skela prison, about 18 miles east of Belgrade. His wife told Blic that Lukovic’s sentence had been delayed twice already and he had been seeking another postponement.

A Serbian opposition party, the Social Democratic Union, protested the arrest Wednesday, claiming it was part of the regime’s ``intimidation of the public, and independent journalists in particular, ahead of the national elections″ scheduled for Sept. 24.

Independent journalists in Serbia have often been targeted by the authorities.

Lukovic was a close associate of Slavko Curuvija, owner and editor of Dnevni Telegraf, who was killed in Belgrade in spring 1999 after he criticized President Slobodan Milosevic and his influential wife Mirjana Markovic.

Meanwhile, a Slovene couple arrested two weeks ago by the Yugoslav army on suspicion of trespassing and photographing in a restricted zone, was set free Wednesday.

In a one-day trial Wednesday, the man, Milos Glisovic, received a three-month suspended prison sentence and his wife, Natasa Zorz, was found not guilty, their lawyer said. They were arrested Aug. 2 in the coastal town of Ulcinj.