YU judge wraps up terrorism inquiry

BELGRADE, Aug 29, 2000 -- (Reuters) A Yugoslav military judge has completed his investigation of four Westerners detained on suspicion of terrorism, defense lawyers said on Monday.

The army prosecutor now has 15 days to decide whether to put the men on trial. The two defense attorneys said there was no evidence to back up the allegations against their clients.

They said weekend interviews conducted by the judge in the coastal Yugoslav republic of Montenegro had confirmed the detainees' statements about their whereabouts prior to their arrests.

"There is no evidence for a case," said lawyer Djordje Djurisic, who represents Britons Adrian Prangnell and John Yore.

The Yugoslav army detained the two Britons along with Canadians Shaun Going and Liam Hall in the border area between Kosovo and Montenegro four weeks ago.

The four have denied accusations they were planning to mount terrorist attacks in Yugoslavia.

Western officials say they were on holiday from jobs helping to rebuild majority Albanian Kosovo, still formally part of Serbia but a de facto international protectorate since June last year.

The Britons were training a new police force in Kosovo under the auspices of Kosovo's United Nations administration.

Going owns a construction contracting firm operating in Kosovo and was carrying equipment used to blast stone quarries. Hall is his nephew.

Britain has dismissed the case against the Britons as absurd and urged Belgrade to either charge or free them.

The investigating judge went to Montenegro on Friday as part of the inquiry, the defense lawyers said.

Ivan Jankovic, who represents the Canadians, said the judge had interviewed two Montenegrin policemen who were at the border checkpoint where the four entered Montenegro on July 27.

He also questioned five employees of a hotel in the popular seaside resort of Sveti Stefan where they were staying.

"All seven witnesses have fully confirmed the defendants' statements," Jankovic said. "It is perfect news."

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