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Expert Says Milosevic Took a Drug That Neutralized Heart Medication

A Dutch toxicologist says late Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic took a powerful antibiotic that neutralized his heart and blood pressure medication.

Donald Uges of Groningen University said Monday a blood sample taken before the former Yugoslav president died had traces of a drug, rifampicin, used to treat leprosy and tuberculosis -- diseases Milosevic did not have. Uges says the drug would have countered the effects of Milosevic's other medicines. It is not clear how he got the prescription antibiotic.

Uges says he was asked to test Milosevic's blood after his high blood pressure did not respond to drugs prescribed by Dutch doctors. Preliminary autopsy results indicate the 64-year-old Milosevic died of a heart attack. Post-mortem toxicology findings are still pending.

Milosevic died Saturday in his cell at the U.N. war crimes tribunal detention center at The Hague, where he was standing trial.

The tribunal says it will release Milosevic's body Monday. His lawyer, Zdenko Tomanovic, says his family wants a state funeral in Belgrade, but it is not clear whether Serb authorities would approve it. The widow, Mira Markovic, lives in Russia with most of the family, and they have asked permission to attend a Belgrade funeral.

Russian officials confirmed Monday that Milosevic wrote the Foreign Ministry before his death, complaining of inadequate medical treatment.

Last month, the tribunal denied his request to go to Russia for medical treatment, ruling that Milosevic could be treated at The Hague. The Dutch toxicologist, Donald Uges, says Milosevic may have taken the antibiotic purposely to counter the other medicine and bolster his case for treatment in Moscow.

Known as the "Butcher of the Balkans," Milosevic was arrested in 2001. His trial had lasted nearly four years and was due to end in the next few months.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.