French aid workers face trial

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The Independent Online
PARIS (Reuter) - Bosnian Serbs have said they will put three members of the French humanitarian aid agency Premiere Urgence on trial for arms offences this week after detaining them for a month.

'The Serbs appear to have given up on the idea of accusing all 11 (workers) as a group . . . and it seems they will instead charge three members of the team,' the agency said. The volunteers have been accused of trying to provide Bosnian Muslims with weapons.

'The sentences they face vary according to rumours from 20 years jail to the death penalty,' the charity said, adding eight of the 11 workers could be released before Sunday's trial.

The Serbs last month offered to exchange the aid volunteers for 11 Serbian prisoners being held in Sarajevo.

In the Adriatic, Nato warships almost collided with Yugoslav vessels as they prevented an oil tanker from breaking a United Nations trade embargo on Serbia and Montenegro. Nato said the Maltese-registered Lido II, carrying 45,000 tons of fuel oil, was intercepted while on a course for Yugoslavia.

A Nato statement said three Yugoslav Navy ships were spotted heading fast towards the Lido II as a boarding team from a Dutch Nato warship was being winched aboard. One of the Yugoslav ships almost ran into a British frigate which was also on the scene.