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Miroslav Filipovic arrested in Kraljevo

Yugoslav security officials arrested leading independent journalist Miroslav Filipovic at his home in Kraljevo on May 8.

According to Filipovic's wife, Slavica, the officers interviewed him for three hours at his home, producing a warrant stating that he was being detained to prevent him from destroying or hiding "evidence" necessary for judicial proceedings.

The officers also confiscated the hard drive from Filipovic's computer, three floppy disks, almost 100 pages of documents and materials, as well as the journalist's passport, address book, business cards, diary and personal papers.

Filipovic, 49, is a senior Yugoslav journalist who writes for the Belgrade daily Danas and Agence France Presse, as well as the Institute for War & Peace Reporting. He is also associated with the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia.

In recent weeks Filipovic produced several explosive reports for IWPR on the Yugoslav security services, army and other authorities, including an account of Serb police repression in southern Serbia, an eyewitness report on a rebellion by Yugoslav Army reservists, and an exclusive on the smuggling of Serbian agents provocateurs into Kosovo.

In a special expose, reprinted in London press and widely circulated internationally, Filipovic reported on atrocities committed by Yugoslav Army soldiers in Kosovo during the NATO bombardment, based on the soldiers' own accounts.

Under Serbian law, the authorities may detain Filipovic for up to 72 hours without making a formal charge. Filipovic family members report that the arresting officers behaved civilly, and that so far he has been treated correctly during detention.

The arrest follows the recent detention of several other journalists and opposition figures, and the general repression of independent media. Reports on his detention have appeared in local and international press and several press groups have protested.

So far the precise motives behind the arrest are unclear. The reporter's unique sources within the security services and his explosive reporting have already prompted the authorities to call Filipovic in for an "informative discussion". Despite concerns at the time, he has continued to file.

© Institute of War &Peace Reporting

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