Strawberries, Russian literature for Mladic in cell: sources

27th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

In his first days in detention after 16 years on the run, Ratko Mladic has been served strawberries in his cell and will be given Russian literature to read, sources in Serbia's war crimes court told AFP Friday.

The man known as "the Butcher of the Balkans" has also told court officials that he would like to visit the grave of his daughter Ana, who committed suicide in 1994 at the age of 23 and was buried in a Belgrade cemetery.

"He asked for strawberries and he was served some," a court source speaking on condition of anonymity told AFP.

The former Bosnian Serb army chief asked the court for "books from (Russian literary greats) Turgenev, Tolstoy and Gogol" to be brought to his cell as well as a television set, another court source said.

The judge agreed to provide the television, the source said, and the books will be brought Saturday.

"He expressed the wish to visit his daughter's grave," the source added.

Mladic, who stands accused of masterminding the 44-month siege of Sarajevo and the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, was arrested in Serbia Thursday. A judge ruled Friday that he was fit to be transferred to a UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

According to a prison administration official, a typical cell in the Serbian war crimes court's detention unit, where Mladic has been held since Thursday afternoon, "is a little bit more luxurious than an ordinary cell."

"The detention unit has been renovated recently in accordance with the international standards that require 10 square metres (12 square yards) per person," the official told AFP.

"The cell has a window, a bed, a table, a strongbox, a chair and a closet," he added.

Meanwhile, more details emerged of Mladic's life in the village of Lazarevo where he was arrested.

Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic told Tanjug news agency that the location where he was found had not been searched since the hunt for him began.

Dacic said that Mladic had lived with his cousins during the last several years, without financial support, the report said.

The minister could not say precisely for how long Mladic lived in Lazarevo, but said it was "quite long, maybe even several years," Tanjug said.

The arrest operation was completed and carried out without any problems and incidents, Dacic was quoted as saying.

A probe will be launched into who had helped Mladic to hide in the last few years, Dacic said.

Inhabitants of Lazarevo intend to launch a petition demanding that the village or at least the street where Mladic was hiding be named in his honour, B92 private radio reported.

© 2011 AFP

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