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Milosevic Funeral Arrangements Remain Uncertain


The family of former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic says it wants his funeral in Belgrade, but Serbian authorities have not ruled on their request -- nor on a request to lift an outstanding arrest warrant for his widow.

A Belgrade court is expected to rule Tuesday whether to suspend abuse of power charges against his widow, Mira Markovic, and allow her to attend.

The Hague war crimes tribunal, where Milosevic was standing trial, says it will release the body to his family. His son, Marko, is expected to arrive from Russia Tuesday to claim it.

But Serbian President Boris Tadic says a state funeral there would not be appropriate.

Milosevic died Saturday in his cell at the tribunal detention center in The Hague. Preliminary autopsy results indicate the 64-year-old former president died of a heart attack. Post-mortem toxicology findings are still pending.

Earlier today, a Dutch toxicologist said Milosevic had taken a powerful antibiotic that neutralized his heart and blood pressure medication. Donald Uges of Groningen University said blood Milosevic gave before he died showed traces of a drug used to treat leprosy and tuberculosis -- neither of which he had.

Uges said he tested Milosevic's blood after his high blood pressure did not respond to drugs prescribed by Dutch doctors. It is not clear how he got the prescription antibiotic, but Uges says he may have taken it purposely to degrade his health and bolster his case for treatment in Moscow.

Russian officials confirmed Monday that Milosevic wrote the Foreign Ministry before his death, complaining of inadequate medical treatment. Last month, the tribunal denied his request to go to Russia for treatment, saying he could be treated at The Hague.

Known as the "Butcher of the Balkans," Milosevic was arrested in 2001. His trial had lasted nearly four years and was due to end in the next few months.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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