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'They will not break me': Milosevic before death

A close Socialist Party aide of Slobodan Milosevic said on Saturday that the ex-president was defiant just before his death.

india Updated: Mar 11, 2006 23:48 IST

A close Socialist Party aide of Slobodan Milosevic said on Saturday that the ex-president was defiant just before his death.

"He told me, 'Don't you worry: They will not destroy me or break me; I shall defeat them all,"' said Milorad Vucelic of the Socialist Party, recounting a phone conversation with Milosevic late on Friday. "But it was obvious he was very ill."

Milosevic, who was found dead Saturday in his cell at the Netherlands-based war crimes court near The Hague, was daily in contact with Socialist party officials in Belgrade as he carried out his own defence before the U.N. tribunal.

Vucelic recounted that Milosevic was in "a good mood" on Friday but would not discuss his illness.

"There is no doubt this is a question of Milosevic's liquidation by The Hague court," Vucelic said, adding that the two had agreed to talk again on Saturday.

"We were supposed to talk more today but when he didn't call, I was a little worried," Vucelic added. "Then I found out what had happened."

Vucelic spoke at the Socialist Party headquarters in downtown Belgrade, where flags hung at half-staff and a huge photo of Milosevic was on display, adorned with a black cloth. During their phone conversation, Vucelic said Milosevic had been upbeat and satisfied with how his defence case was coming along. Vucelic said that by denying Milosevic his appeal to be temporarily released for medical treatment in Russia, The Hague court judges "signed his death sentence."

First Published: Mar 11, 2006 23:48 IST