Spray-painting YU party official arrested

PODGORICA, Sep 11, 2000 -- (Reuters) A senior Yugoslav party official, who Montenegrin police said was arrested early on Sunday for spray-painting buildings, said he had filed a criminal complaint against the police for illegal detention.

The man, Ratko Krsmanovic, is an official in the neo-communist Yugoslav Left (JUL) party of the wife of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, which is contesting September 24 elections in coalition with the Milosevic's Socialists.

Police of the small pro-Western Montenegrin republic, junior member of the Yugoslav federation, said a regular patrol had seen two people spray-painting walls of several buildings early on Sunday and arrested them for obstructing law and order.

An identity check established the two were Krsmanovic and his driver from Belgrade.

"The police acted correctly towards these persons without use of force as Krsmanovic alleged on Sunday...," the police said in a statement.

It said they were released as soon as their identity was established and an account of events made.

Krsmanovic said police detained him in at 2 a.m. in a suburb of the Montenegrin capital.

He said he was seeking to lay charges against the republic's police and its interior minister, accusing them of "excessive force" in taking him into custody. He called this a "criminal act of illegal arrest and abuse of their post".

"I was kept in the police station for seven hours in inhuman and unhealthy conditions, unfit for any human being," he said in the complaint filed with the Podgorica prosecutor and made available to reporters.

Police said they were investigating allegations that force was used during the arrest and would take disciplinary steps against anyone found to have overstepped their authority.

Yugoslavia's presidential and federal elections, as well as local elections in its dominant Serb republic, are scheduled for September 24.

Montenegrin authorities have dismissed the elections as illegitimate. But they have said they will not prevent voting in Montenegro in order to avoid conflict with parties loyal to Belgrade that will participate.

The small republic's reformist government has taken gradual steps toward autonomy from Belgrade, the seat of Yugoslav and Serbian power. It has tried so far in vain to persuade Milosevic to reshape Yugoslavia.

Original article