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Late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic's son, Marko, cleared of harassment charges

Late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic's son, Marko, cleared of harassment charges

The son of late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic was acquitted Tuesday of charges that he had harassed and beaten his father's political opponents.
The court in the family's hometown of Pozarevac cited insufficient evidence and what it said was a lack of intent when it decided to clear Marko Milosevic of all charges.
Judge Gordana Vidojkovic said it was not clear who was responsible for the beatings of the activists from the student group Otpor, which challenged Slobodan Milosevic's presidency at the time.
Former pro-democracy activists have accused Marko Milosevic and his aides of pressuring, harassing and beating them because of their opposition to his father's rule. They criticized the court ruling Tuesday and promised to appeal.
Also Tuesday, Serbia's President Boris Tadic said those responsible for the beatings of the anti-Milosevic activists in 2000 must be held responsible. But Tadic said the courts must work independently from politics.
Marko Milosevic fled to Russia after his father was ousted in 2000 by a pro-Western coalition. He was tried in absentia and was not in court Tuesday.
Marko Milosevic and his mother, Mirjana Markovic, have refugee status in Russia. Both are wanted in Serbia for alleged cigarette smuggling during Milosevic's rule.
Tuesday's ruling is likely to anger liberal Serbs who feel Milosevic's family members should be held responsible for wrongdoing during Slobodan Milosevic's rule.
But Marko Milosevic's acquittal comes as his father's Socialist Party appears poised to join pro-Western parties in forming a new Serbian government, following May 11 parliamentary and local elections.
The parliamentary vote resulted in no clear winner, and the Socialists, who came in third, emerged as the king-makers. Serbian media have reported that the Socialists have made their support for a coalition with pro-Western parties conditional on an end to the prosecution of Milosevic's family members.
Momcilo Veljkovic, one of Marko Milosevic's alleged victims from Otpor, said Tuesday that the acquittal was politically motivated.
"The process was directed by daily politics," he said.
Another Otpor member, Radojko Lukovic, described the ruling as "shameful," adding that "it was known in advance what the verdict will be."
Milosevic was ousted in 2000 and handed over a year later to the U.N. war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, where he died of a heart attack in 2006 before the end of his trial on genocide charges.


Updated : 2021-02-27 12:45 GMT+08:00