SERBIA — Dragoljub Milanovic, the fugitive former director of Radio Television Serbia (RTS) who was wanted for manslaughter, has been arrested in the former Yugoslav republic of Montenegro and handed over to Serbian authorities to begin a 10-year prison sentence.
Serbian police said Milanovic was discovered because of his association with the powerful Mafia cartel known as the Zemun gang, believed responsible for the March 12 assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic.
Montenegrin police found Milanovic, who went into hiding Feb. 14, in a secluded cottage near the coastal city of Bar. Authorities reportedly learned of his hiding place while interrogating figures suspected in Djindjic’s killing.
Milanovic’s capture ends one of the strangest chapters in south European broadcast history. A supporter and confidante of former Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic before the strongman’s ouster in October 2000, Milanovic was convicted of keeping studio employees at their posts on April 23, 1999, during NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia, even though he had received a warning that RTS’ main Belgrade studios would be the target of an attack.
In finding him responsible for the deaths of 16 RTS workers, the court had ruled there was sufficient evidence Milanovic hoped to exploit the loss of life to bolster the Milosevic regime and the war effort against the Western alliance.