Second man held over killing of Serbia's PM Djindjic

Image caption,
Djindjic was a key figure in the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic

A second man convicted in his absence of the 2003 assassination of the Serbian prime minister Zoran Djindjic has been arrested.

Milos Simovic was seized in forest near Belgrade in Serbia as he attempted to cross from Croatia, it was reported.

His capture on Thursday comes two days after a man alleged to have been his accomplice in the killing in Belgrade, Sretko Kalinic, was held in Croatia.

Kalinic was taken to hospital with gunshot wounds inflicted by Simovic.

Meanwhile, the wife of the fugitive Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic has been placed under police investigation.

Mladic is wanted on war crimes charges.


Mr Djindjic was killed by a sniper's bullet in 2003 by a group linked to former paramilitaries.

Simovic and Kalinic had been at large since the assassination, and were each sentenced in their absence in 2007 to 30 years in prison for conspiracy to kill Djindjic.

The following year, Simovic was separately sentenced to 40 years in prison for taking part in a series of gangland killings organised from Belgrade in the 1990s and early 2000.

After his arrest on Thursday, Simovic was "immediately" sent to a Serbian prison to serve his sentences, police were quoted as saying by AP news agency.

Kalinic, who was born in Croatia, was admitted to a hospital in the Croatian capital Zagreb on Tuesday with gunshot wounds.

"He was formally arrested, his condition is stable and we are working on his extradition," Milorad Veljovic, director of Serbian police, told the Reuters news agency. He added that Kalinic was shot by Simovic.

The circumstances surrounding the shooting of Kalinic were unclear. Both men were reported to have been members of the same crime "clan" in Belgrade.

The leader of the plot to kill Mr Djindjic and the man who pulled the trigger were jailed in 2007.

EU hopes

Ratko Mladic has been on the run from the UN's War Crimes Tribunal since 1995 and faces genocide charges in connection with the 1992-95 Bosnia war.

His wife Bosiljka Mladic was detained on Tuesday and questioned by a local judge, over arms that were recovered at the family's house in 2008.

Mrs Mladic says she was unaware of the arms, which were stored in her husband's closet.

A close friend of the Mladic family told the BBC that he believed the questioning of Mrs Mladic was just for show, designed to give the impression that Serbia was doing something to find the fugitive.

Gen Mladic's arrest is seen as crucial for Serbia's hopes of joining the European Union.

In the meantime, his family have begun their own attempts to end the hunt, by requesting that he be declared formally dead.

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