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Milosevic's body to be flown to Serbia for burial

Written by: Staff

AMSTERDAM, Mar 15 (Reuters) The body of Slobodan Milosevic will be flown to Belgrade today for burial, almost five years after the former Yugoslav president was sent to The Hague to stand trial for war crimes.

The remains of Milosevic, who died of a heart attack in jail just months before an expected verdict, were expected to arrive in Belgrade in the afternoon (local time) as questions persisted over what killed him -- natural causes, poisoning or suicide.

But his widow Mira Markovic, dubbed ''Lady Macbeth'' for her powerful influence on her husband, looked set to stay behind in Moscow because she would face a court hearing and confiscation of her passport if she returns to Serbia.

Milosevic will be buried in his hometown of Pozarevac, 80 km east of Belgrade, Uros Suvakovic, a senior official of his Socialist Party, said today.

''The funeral will be in Pozarevac on Saturday,'' he said.

A Russian doctor sent from Moscow to check the results of the Dutch autopsy said on Wednesday he was satisfied Milosevic died of a heart attack but said he could have been saved if he had been allowed to travel to Moscow for specialist treatment.

Belgrade has refused a state funeral for Milosevic, who is revered as a hero by ultranationalists but widely blamed in the West for the wars that tore Yugoslavia apart in the 1990s.

His admirers say the funeral will be a major national event whatever its official status, despite Belgrade's rejection of a burial in the ''Avenue of Heroes'' in the city's main cemetery.

Sergei Baburin, Deputy Speaker of Russia's State Duma lower house of parliament, said Mira Markovic would not travel to Belgrade for her husband's funeral.

''It is of course monstrous that the current leadership of Serbia and Montenegro have not provided the appropriate level of safety for the wife of the late President Slobodan Milosevic,'' Baburin told Russia's state-run RTR television station.

''She decided let the funeral go ahead as it is. Even if they do not let her in, her husband must return.'' MORE REUTERS HS PM1823

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