Milosevic's Wife, Son Get Asylum

Russia has granted asylum to the widow and son of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, both of whom are on Interpol's wanted list, the Federal Migration Service said Friday.

Mirjana Markovic, 65, and Marko Milosevic, 33, entered a Moscow police station in March 2005 and made a formal request for political asylum, an agency spokesman said on condition of anonymity, citing agency policy.

"Everything was done in accordance with international conventions," the spokesman said.

They were granted asylum in March 2006, the spokesman said.

Serbian media reported in recent days that Markovic and Milosevic had received asylum, but Friday's announcement was the first time Russian authorities had confirmed their refugee status.

They were granted asylum after their passports expired, Itar-Tass reported Friday, citing an unidentified law enforcement official.

The Foreign Ministry declined to comment. A spokesman for the Serbian Embassy in Moscow said he had learned about the development from the media.

The Serbian Foreign Ministry did not respond to a faxed inquiry.

Markovic, herself an outspoken political figure, has lived in Moscow since 2003, evading Serbian charges of abuse of power and corruption linked to her husband's 13-year reign. She did not attend his funeral in March 2006 because of fear of arrest.

Marko Milosevic came to Moscow after fleeing Serbia in 2001. In 2004, a Serbian court convicted him in absentia of threatening to kill an opposition activist with a chainsaw, but a higher court later ordered a retrial. The charges were dropped in 2005 after a key witness said he no longer remembered what happened. But both the mother and son have outstanding Interpol warrants for their arrest on suspicion of fraud, Interpol said on its web site. Serbian authorities say the two ran a cigarette smuggling ring while Yugoslavia faced international sanctions in the 1990s. Slobodan Milosevic's elder brother, Borislav, a former ambassador to Russia, has lived in Moscow for several years.