Journalist jailed over Kosovo reporting to go free

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The Independent Online

A Yugoslav journalist imprisoned by Slobodan Milosevic's regime for writing in The Independent about atrocities in Kosovo is expected to be released from jail as early as today after an appeal from the country's new President, Vojislav Kostunica.

A Yugoslav journalist imprisoned by Slobodan Milosevic's regime for writing in The Independent about atrocities in Kosovo is expected to be released from jail as early as today after an appeal from the country's new President, Vojislav Kostunica.

Miroslav Filipovic was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment in July for allegedly publicising state secrets. The verdict against Mr Filipovic was condemned by human rights organisations around the world, including Amnesty International, which named him a prisoner of conscience.

Mr Filipovic was also named "European Internet Journalist of the Year" at the annual NetMedia awards. He also became as cause célÿbre within Serbia, where protests and rock concerts were organised to draw attention to his case.

Mr Filipovic's article in The Independent cited a secret Yugoslav army intelligence report on atrocities against Kosovo Albanians during last year's 78-day Nato bombing campaign. He included testimony from a Yugoslav army commander who claimed to have watched a soldier decapitate a 3-year-old Albanian boy, as well as descriptions of tanks indiscriminately shelling a Kosovo Albanian village before paramilitary police moved in and massacred the survivors.

Last night Filip Golubovic, President Kostunica's legal adviser, said: "We have taken steps for the abolition [of Mr Filipovic's sentence], we have contacted his family and lawyers."

Mr Filipovic's sentencing was widely seen as a political effort to crack down on the independent media as well as reformers within the Yugoslav Army, some of whom provided him with information.

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