Freedom for spy case Britons

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The Independent Online

The Foreign Office has confirmed that two British policemen held by Yugoslav authorities as suspected spies have been released.

The Foreign Office has confirmed that two British policemen held by Yugoslav authorities as suspected spies have been released.

Adrian Prangnell and John Yore had been detained along with two Canadians, Shaun Going and Liam Hall. The Canadians are expected to be released soon, a Foreign Office spokeswoman said.

The Britons owe their freedom to the dramatic events in Belgrade which saw Yugoslav dictator Slobodan Milosevic swept from power.

Foreign Secretary Robin Cook welcomed the news and said it was a good sign that the new government was willing to "live within the rule of law".

He said in a statement: "This is tremendous news and we share the relief of both officers and their families. There was no case against these men.

"This is an encouraging signal that the new government in Belgrade is responding to our offer of friendship and I welcome this early sign that it is prepared to live within the rule of law."

A Hampshire Police spokeswoman said it was understood Mr Prangnell, 41, was handed over to British officials at noon.

Earlier this month the Foreign Office accused the Yugoslav authorities of deliberately prolonging their investigation.

They were detained on July 31 on the border between Montenegro and Kosovo, after spending a holiday on the Montenegrin coast.

As they returned to Kosovo, where they Britons trained local police for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, a Yugoslav army patrol stopped them and searched their car.

They arrested the four after discovering what was described as explosives-related material in the boot.

One of the four, Going, later claimed that the material was left over from his work as a contractor in Kosovo, but the military launched an investigation on possible espionage and terrorism charges. The four men were moved out of solitary confinement and put together in one room last month, at the request of their lawyers.

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