CEOL - Serb police warn opposition officials

BELGRADE, Dec 11, 1999 -- (Reuters) Serbian police said on Friday that if three opposition officials did not respond to a summons for questioning they would have to bring them in, the independent Beta news agency reported.

Police issued the summons on Thursday as part of a crackdown over the party's allegations linking the authorities to an alleged assassination attempt.

The allegations of state-sponsored terrorism were made by the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO), whose leader Vuk Draskovic has accused the authorities of trying to kill him by staging a car crash.

The government has dismissed the charges, saying they were part of a Western-sponsored plot against Yugoslavia.

Party leaders said the officials - Draskovic's adviser Miladin Kovacevic, party spokesman Ivan Kovacevic and Alexander Cotric, a member of the Belgrade and Serbian parliaments - would not go to the police station.

A police statement cited by Beta said they would have to.

"The statement said the three summoned SPO officials would be brought in if they do not respond to the summons regardless of what they say, because they are obliged to do so by law," Beta said.

The prosecutors' office had asked police to question party officials in connection with several statements on the October 3 car crash. It said they contained false information, the spreading of which carried criminal charges.

The police denied assertions by the party that police had "marched in" to its offices on Thursday to issue the summons, saying one officer handed it over to an official who had received it in a civilized manner.

A Belgrade court on Wednesday fined two newspapers and also a television station controlled by Draskovic's party for carrying the party's allegations the ruling parties were involved in the car crash that killed four of its officials.

The party has also tried to sue the security services over the accident, in which a truck filled with sand veered into two cars filled with party officials. Police say they have been unable to find the driver or owner of the truck.

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