Montenegro lawyer of arrested Britons, Canadians expects decision soon

PODGORICA, Yugoslavia (AP) - Two Britons and two Canadians arrested on suspicion of spying and terrorism, gave statements Monday before a military court. Their lawyer said he expected a decision soon on whether they would be released or formally charged.

''I expect that within the next 24 hours, the army prosecutor will decide whether to press (ahead) ... or drop proceedings against the four,'' Vojislav Zecevic told a reporter.

The four were bought under heavy security to the court building in Podgorica, capital of Montenegro, which makes up Yugoslavia along with Serbia. Only the magistrate, prosecutor, a court interpreter and Zecevic were allowed inside.

Zecevic said his clients appeared healthy and said they suffered no ''personal problems.'' He did not say what the accused told the hearing, but all four have denied wrongdoing.

If the army decides to press on, the four will likely be charged immediately after the investigation, Zecevic said. They could also be moved for trial elsewhere, probably to a higher military court in Belgrade, Serbia.

A military helicopter transferred the four men this weekend from the army camp in Andrijevica, close to the place of arrest near the border with Kosovo, to a military prison in Podgorica, a senior army official earlier said.

The four men were arrested Tuesday in northern Montenegro while driving back to Kosovo. The two Britons, John Yore and Adrian Prangnell, were working as instructors at a police academy in Kosovo run by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Shaun Going, one of the Canadians arrested along with his nephew Liam Hall, was a contractor doing reconstruction work in the province.

No diplomats have been able to contact the men, detained on suspicion of spying and terrorism.

Zecevic said he was concerned that the ''technical equipment'' allegedly found on the arrested and the fact that they were traveling without documents may be sufficient for the army to bring charges against his clients.

The Yugoslav army claimed the detainees were suspected of training pro-Western forces in Montenegro for ''terrorist actions.'' The four had military equipment and explosives in their possession at the time of arrest, an army statement claimed.

Serbian authorities, who are at odds with the pro-Western Montenegrin government, have alleged that special British forces, and other foreign experts were training Montenegrin police in preparation for its secession from Yugoslavia.

British Foreign Office Minister Keith Vaz said that the Yugoslav authorities had not informed his government of charges against the two British policemen.

Vaz played down claims that one of the captured Canadians had fuses or explosives

''We've had no information, we've not been told why they are being held, we have - as usual with Milosevic and his regime - rumors and innuendo being spread about like confetti,'' Vaz told BBC Radio 4's World at One program, referring to President Slobodan Milosevic.


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