Canadians, Britons could face more jail timeYugoslav prosecutor accused of stalling
Thursday, August 31, 2000
Belgrade -- A Yugoslav military prosecutor has again asked for more checks into the case of two Canadians and two Britons detained for nearly a month on suspicion of terrorism, a defence lawyer said yesterday.
Lawyer Ivan Jankovic described the request as unnecessary and said he believed the aim is to keep the four men, who were arrested Aug. 1, in jail longer than necessary.
He said he believed that the investigating judge already had refused the prosecutor's request, or will do so, but that this might be overturned by a judicial panel.
"My hunch is [that the panel] will grant the prosecutor's request," said Mr. Jankovic, who represents the two Albertans, Shaun Going and Liam Hall.
That would be the second time the prosecutor has asked for additional investigation into the case, in effect delaying the deadline for a decision on whether to charge the men.
The prosecutor has 15 days to decide whether to charge them once the investigation is complete.
A Yugoslav army patrol detained the two Canadians and Britons Adrian Prangnell and John Yore in the border area between the Yugoslav republic of Montenegro and Kosovo, which is now under United Nations administration, where the four men were working.
Mr. Going owns a construction contracting firm operating in Kosovo and was carrying equipment used to blast stone quarries.
Mr. Hall, his nephew, was working with him for the summer. The Britons were training a new police force in Kosovo under the auspices of the UN administration.
The four have denied accusations they were planning to mount terrorist attacks in Yugoslavia.
The initial inquiry was completed in mid-August but the prosecutor asked the judge to interview Montenegrin police officers and hotel employees in the coastal republic last weekend to confirm the whereabouts of the four men before their arrests.
The judge did so and returned the file to the prosecutor on Monday.
The prosecutor is now asking for interviews with Yugoslav soldiers and with a waiter from a café where the four Westerners had lunch on their way back to Kosovo on July 31, Mr. Jankovic said.
The prosecutor wants two superiors of the Britons in Kosovo to be interviewed and information from Kosovo authorities.
He also wants a detailed reconstruction of the men's movements in Montenegro.