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New York, August 17, 2000 — Serbian journalist Miroslav Filipovic was transferred from a military prison in Nis, where he is serving a seven-year sentence for espionage, to the city’s military hospital on Tuesday. He was admitted to the hospital with significant arrhythmia of unknown origin, the journalist’s lawyer Zoran Ateljevic told local media. This is the second time in ten days that Filipovic has been hospitalized with heart trouble; it is unknown how long the journalist will remain in hospital.
Filipovic has been in detention since May 22, and has lost 20 kilos (about 40 pounds) over that period. He was first examined for heart problems on August 3. The physician who examined him suggested he remain in hospital, but his supervisor decided against it, according to the independent Belgrade daily Danas, one of Filipovic’s employers. When his condition persisted, he was transferred to the Belgrade military hospital five days later where he underwent a three-day medical checkup before being sent back to jail.
According to local and international reports, Filipovic’s condition is very serious and increased stress may be fatal for him. Additionally, the journalist has developed skin allergy and flu accompanied by high fever.
“Filipovic’s shameful treatment proves that the Milosevic regime is not only undemocratic and abusive, but also inhuman,” said Ann Cooper, CPJ’s executive director. “We urge Serbian authorities to release Filipovic immediately, so that he can receive adequate medical treatment.”
Filipovic reported extensively on alleged Yugoslav Army atrocities in Kosovo during the 1999 NATO bombardment of Yugoslavia for Agence France-Press and the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR). On July 26, after a one-day trial held mostly behind closed doors, a military court in Nis found him guilty of espionage and disseminating false information. His lawyers plan to file an appeal with the Supreme Military Court in Belgrade on August 18. The court is supposed to rule on the appeal within 90 days.