Trial of aid workers begins in Yugoslavia
May 26, 1999
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (CNN) -- Yugoslavia on Wednesday started the trial of three CARE International relief workers accused of espionage.
Australians Steve Pratt and Peter Wallace were detained by Yugoslavian officials at the Lipovac border crossing on March 31, and several days later were charged with spying for Australia.
CARE has withheld information about the third aid worker, a Yugoslav national, to protect his family in Yugoslavia.
CARE officials have denied the spying charges and said they believe the three men will be acquitted.
"We are entirely confident that our legal team in Belgrade will prove (the three) are innocent humanitarian workers," said CARE's British director, Will Day. "Their work in the region involved giving lifesaving relief to up to 70,000 Serb refugees; people who had been ethnically cleansed from Croatia and Bosnia during the previous Balkan conflict."
The proceedings are expected to take two or three days. Yugoslav law requires defendants and their lawyers be given 24 hours notice before the start of a trial.
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