|If you are not allowed to laugh in heaven, I don't want to go there. - Martin Luther|
No. 41, 1 March 1994
RUSSIA RESPONSE TO NO-FLY ENFORCEMENT. Official Moscow's initial hesitation in responding to NATO's shooting down of four Serbian aircraft in the no-fly zone in Bosnia early in the morning of 28 February was replaced by studied responses after midday. Careful not to blame any one of the three sides, Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev pointed out that Russia had been among the initiators of the no-fly concept and continued to support both it and its enforcement. Deputy Foreign Minister Vitalii Churkin, eager to avoid blaming the Serbian side, said he could not understand why the Bosnian Serbs would have combat aircraft over an area of Moslem-Croat fighting and that there was "much to be clarified." The Russian Foreign Ministry's official statement refrained from discussing the identity of the aircraft and said merely that "whichever side carried out the military sortie over Bosnia-Herzegovina, violating the resolutions of the UN Security Council relating to the no-fly zone, carries full responsibility for what has happened," Russian agencies reported. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. GRACHEV SUPPORTS NATO ACTION. Addressing reporters in Oslo during an official visit to Norway, Defense Minister Pavel Grachev on 28 February expressed preliminary support for NATO's action. Grachev was quoted as saying that "whoever violates the United Nations' no-fly zone over Bosnia will be punished." Grachev reportedly suggested, however, that he would reserve final judgment until completion of a UN investigation into the incident. He again proposed that additional UN peacekeeping contingents be deployed in the former Yugoslavia. During the same press conference, Grachev said Moscow supported NATO's "Partnership for Peace" program and was prepared to work with the Atlantic alliance on the basis of mutual respect. Grachev was in Oslo to discuss proposals aimed at widening military cooperation between Russia and Norway; his remarks were reported by the New York Times News Service and ITAR-TASS. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. KARADZIC IN MOSCOW. Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic traveled to Moscow for consultations immediately after the shoot-down, arriving with the words: "Russia will help us." On the evening of 28 February, Karadzic had a 45-minute meeting with Churkin, but little information emerged in the media on its content. In contrast to the issue of NATO airstrikes around Sarajevo, defending the Bosnian Serbs in the face of clear-cut violation of UN resolutions would put Moscow in a difficult position. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. COUNTERINTELLIGENCE CHIEF REPLACED. Nikolai Golushko, head of the Federal Counterintelligence Service (FSK) was released from his duties by President Boris Yeltsin on 28 February, and Sergei Stepashin has taken over as acting director of the service, Interfax reported. No official explanation was offered for the change. There was speculation that Golushko was being punished for releasing from Lefortovo Prison those of Yeltsin's foes who have been amnestied by the State Duma, but an FSK spokesman told RFE/RL that responsibility for oversight of the prison had already been transferred from the FSK to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD). Stepashin, who will act as head of the FSK until a permanent head is appointed, made his career in the KGB. Until August 1991 he served as so-called political officer in the MVD; after that he was appointed chief of the St. Petersburg Administration of the Ministry of Security and Deputy Minister of Security. At the same time, he headed the Committee for Defense and Security in the Russian Supreme Soviet. Most recently, Stepashin has been Golushko's first deputy. Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIA EXPELS US DIPLOMAT. Russia is expelling US diplomat James Morris, described by Moscow as CIA station chief in Moscow, in retaliation for Washington's expulsion of Russian intelligence officer Aleksandr Lysenko, ITAR-TASS reported on 28 February. Yurii Kobaladze, head of the press bureau of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service, complained that Lysenko's expulsion was "unnecessary" since, he said, Lysenko had been officially presented to the CIA as the intelligence officer responsible for cooperation between two agencies. Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc. MINERS STRIKE. Coalminers held a one-day warning strike throughout Russia on 1 March, but the turnout and demands varied from region to region. Ivan Mokhnachuk, deputy chairman of the Russian Coalworkers' Union, told RFE/RL's Moscow correspondent that about 75% of all coalmines in Russia were on strike. Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Oil and Gas Industry Construction Workers' Union told Reuters on 1 March that those workers would decide later in the day whether to join the miners' strike. Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc. AUSHEV REELECTED PRESIDENT OF INGUSHETIA. Ruslan Aushev was reelected president of Ingushetia on 27 February, receiving 94 percent of the votes cast in a turnout of some 70 percent, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported on 28 February. This can be regarded as a massive vote of confidence despite the fact that virtually no progress has been made in returning Ingush refugees to the Prigorodnyi raion of North Ossetia. In a referendum held the same day 97 percent of those who voted approved the republic's first constitution which states that Ingushetia is a democratic law-based secular state forming part of Russia on a treaty basis. The results of the elections to the 27-deputy Ingush parliament, also held on 27 February, will not be known for another week or so. Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc. TWO MORE REFORMERS OFFER TO RESIGN. Quoting senior Finance Ministry sources, Reuters on 28 February reported that two deputy finance ministers have offered to resign to protest plans for monetary union with Belarus and delays in financial stabilization. The officials concerned are Sergei Aleksashenko, who supervises macroeconomic policy, and Andrei Kazmin, who is in charge of monetary and credit policy. They are said to be among the few reformers left in senior government positions. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. MOST DEFENSE ENTERPRISES TO BE PRIVATIZED BY END 1994. By the end of 1994, some 1,550 out of a total of 2,000 defense industry enterprises will have been privatized, including all munitions plants. This was announced by a deputy chairman of the State Property Committee, Alfred Koch, at a news conference on 28 February, Interfax reported. Koch, who is responsible for the privatization of the military-industrial complex, said that 450 enterprises will remain exempt from privatization: these are mostly R&D facilities "with guaranteed defense ministry contracts." About 700 defense plants have already been privatized. Of the remaining 850, the state will retain a majority share in 150 enterprises for three years and will exercise veto powers over managerial decisions at 600 plants. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. OPPOSITION TO ELECTION POSTPONEMENT. The local elections due to be held this spring in Russia's krais and oblasts were discussed at a meeting of heads of administration of Russian cities, held in Moscow on 28 February, ITAR-TASS reported. Participants opposed suggestions that the elections might be postponed, saying this would be a restriction of citizens' rights. (The idea of postponing the elections was floated after many former communists were elected in recent elections in Tula Oblast.) Apathy on the part of local electorates is another matter, however. Russian TV said on 26 February that elections may have to be postponed in Primorsky Krai since, as of that date, only six of the 182 hopeful candidates had managed to collect the requisite number of signatures to qualify for registration. The closing date for registration was 27 February. Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc. CIS GENERAL STAFF CHIEF ON BASES OUTSIDE RUSSIA. Russian General Staff Chief Mikhail Kolesnikov said on 28 February that Moscow expected to sign bilateral agreements allowing Russia to set up about 30 military bases on the territory of other CIS states, Interfax and AFP reported. Kolesnikov said that bases in Tajikistan, Armenia, and Azerbaijan would be created from Russian divisions already stationed there. He claimed that nearly all former Soviet republics were considering allowing Russia to establish military bases, but said that none would be created in Ukraine or the Baltic States. According to ITAR-TASS, Kolesnikov also said that the Russian armed forces would be subjected in the near future to an internal reorganization aimed at reducing their size. He admitted, however, that the Defense Ministry was not yet "ready to bring all the arms of the forces into a single integrated structure," and added that the military leadership would not allow military reform to disrupt administration of the army. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. AFGHAN-TAJIK BORDER FORCES SHOULD BE AUGMENTED. Col. Gen. Viktor Samsonov, Russia's chief of staff for coordinating military action among CIS member states, told reporters on 28 February that discussion of the Tajik-Afghan border situation dominated a meeting of CIS Defense Ministers held in Moscow on 24-25 February. According to Russian TV and Interfax, Samsonov asserted that the CIS forces now manning the border would be insufficient to ward off the large-scale actions by Afghan forces that he claimed are expected this spring and summer. Samsonov said other CIS Defense Ministers shared this view and that nine of them, excluding Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova (Moldova did not send a representative to the meeting), had signed a document saying that each CIS member state should send peacekeeping troops to the region. Samsonov said the Defense Ministers agreed that peacekeeping troops should stay in Tajikistan until the end of 1994; the agreements signed by the military delegations must still be approved by the CIS Council of Heads of State. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA ECONOMIC REVISIONS IN KAZAKHSTAN. Western and Russian news agencies reported on 28 February that Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbaev has issued a decree reducing export duties on a wide range of goods in order to encourage Kazakhstani exports, and the State Property Committee has released a list of state-owned enterprises that are to be offered for sale to foreign investors in 1994. The enterprises involved include factories and mining concerns as well as a major Almaty department store. Economic reform has become a major issue in the parliamentary election campaign, with some candidates promising to seek a lessening of the hardships caused by the reforms so far. On 26 February the largely Russian Republican Strike Committee organized a protest in Almaty to call for compensation for those who have suffered as a result of the depreciation of their savings and for deferral of the 7 March election. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. NEW CRACKDOWN ON AZERBAIJAN POPULAR FRONT. Police sealed off the Baku headquarters of the Azerbaijan Popular Front on 28 February after a search of the premises allegedly yielded quantities of arms and ammunition, Interfax and Western agencies reported. More than 100 members of the Azerbaijan Popular Front and the Musavat Party were arrested. The offices of the Front's newspaper Azadlyq were also searched. Azerbaijan's procurator Ali Omarov claimed that the Front had stockpiled weapons in order to launch a coup on 5 March; a Front spokesman rejected the charge, arguing that the Azerbaijani authorities were attempting to discredit the opposition in order to distract attention from their own inability to solve the country's problems. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE REPORTS ON DOWNED PLANES IN BOSNIA. On 1 March international media give extensive coverage to events of 28 February in which four Bosnian Serb warplanes were shot down by two US F-16 fighters. The rump Yugoslav media cover the Bosnian Serb position on the incident according to which it remains unclear as to whose planes were shot down. Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic maintains in turn that the identity of the planes is in doubt. Western media, however, report that the four planes were part of a squadron of six Bosnian Serb craft on a bombing raid against a Bosnian ammunition plant. Western agencies report that the US pilots fired only after issuing several warnings, which were ignored, for the planes to leave a UN no-fly zone. The New York Times adds that the decision to strike down the planes was made in Italy, by NATO commanders. Finally, the Times notes that the four planes "were immediately destroyed" while the remaining two headed to safety in Krajina, the Serb-occupied area of Croatia. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. TUDJMAN, SILAJDZIC REACT. On 28 February HINA reported that Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, while on a state visit to Albania, addressed the matter of the four downed Bosnian Serb planes. According to the report, Tudjman strongly defended the NATO action and stressed that it showed the international community's resolve to end what he termed as Serb aggression. Meanwhile, in Washington Bosnian prime minister Haris Silajdzic said that the downing of the planes will serve to speed up peace efforts, and told reporters that the NATO action is "the best way to make peace in Bosnia." Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. VIOLENCE IN BOSNIA. On 1 March, Borba reports that conditions around Sarajevo are calm and improving. However, on 28 February AFP and Reuters informed about several incidents of violence throughout Bosnia. Tuzla, a Muslim-controlled city, reportedly came under attack by Serb fighters. The Muslim town of Maglaj also experienced heavy shelling on 28 February (the town has been attacked by both Serb and Croat forces). In addition, on 28 February Reuters said that Bosnian Serb forces around Sarajevo had moved six or seven tanks out of the 20 kilometer zone around the city, thereby violating the UN injunction against the movement of heavy artillery. Finally, international media reported on 28 February that talks between Bosnian Croat and Muslim leaders will continue in Washington on 1 March. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. POLISH STUDENTS DEMAND RELEASE OF SECRET FILES. Right-wing student groups have scheduled demonstrations for 2 March in Warsaw and Cracow to protest the internal affairs ministry's refusal to release secret police files on an opposition activist murdered in 1977, PAP reports. The death of Stanislaw Pyjas was a milestone in the Polish student resistance movement. Police officials claimed at the time that Pyjas died from injuries which he suffered when falling down the stairs, but a new investigation opened in 1991 showed he had been beaten to death. Prosecutors closed the murder investigation on 16 February, after Internal Affairs Minister Andrzej Milczanowski refused to provide them with names of secret police collaborators who informed on Pyjas. Milczanowski argued that informants played no role in the murder. Poland's Supreme Court chairman criticized Milczanowski for usurping judgments best left to the justice system. Student leaders on 28 February condemned Milczanowski for "shielding criminals." Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. POLISH RIGHT-WING COALITION ON CONSTITUTION. The five parties that make up the larger of Poland's two right-wing coalitions (Center Alliance, Christian National Union, Peasant Alliance, Movement for the Republic, and Conservative Coalition) proposed the formation of a "National Constitutional Council," to draft a new constitution, PAP reports. The proposed council would include all parties and organizations that received at least 1% of the vote in the September elections, regardless of whether they won seats in the parliament or not. (None of the right-wing parties is represented in the Sejm.) Coalition leaders also emphasized the need for a single right-wing candidate in the 1995 presidential elections. Center Alliance leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski told reporters on 28 February that "Lech Walesa will never be the candidate of the Right." Christian National Union leader Wieslaw Chrzanowski responded that "in politics, you can never say never.'" "With respect to Walesa, you can," Kaczynski replied. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. POLAND'S SEJM SPEAKER IN PRAGUE. Jozef Oleksy, speaker of the Sejm, the lower chamber of the Polish parliament, met with Czech Premier Vaclav Klaus, President Vaclav Havel, and Foreign Minister Jozef Zieleniec on 28 February, to discuss economic issues, European security, and integration into European structures. Oleksy arrived in Prague on 27 February for a three-day visit. CTK reports that during his meeting with Klaus, Oleksy proposed repaying some $65 million, which Poland owes to the Czech Republic, in the form of coal deliveries. Klaus rejected this idea, pointing out that the Czech Republic has enough of its own coal. Despite this discord, Klaus told journalists after the meeting that he considers Czech-Polish relations to be one of the Czech government's top foreign policy priorities. Oleksy said that, unlike the Polish media, he does not "consider Klaus to be an enemy of Czech-Polish relations." Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVAK PRESIDENT AGAIN BLOCKS MECIAR. President Michal Kovac will not accept the resignations of Foreign Minister Jozef Moravcik and Deputy Premier Roman Kovac until a proposal by Premier Vladimir Meciar for a new foreign minister is approved, presidential spokesman Anton Bodis announced on 28 February. On 16 February Meciar proposed that Moravcik be replaced by Deputy Premier and Slovak National Party Honorary Chairman Jozef Prokes, while Kovac's duties would be divided among other ministers, but Bodis said the president had rejected the appointment of Prokes. Kovac also demanded that a new candidate for privatization minister be proposed, a post held by Meciar since Lubomir Dolgos was dismissed in June. Meciar's efforts to name Ivan Lexa to the post were twice rejected by Kovac. Moravcik and Roman Kovac, who have led a break-away faction of Meciar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, handed in their resignations on 24 and 25 February, respectively. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. MECIAR'S PETITION FOR A REFERENDUM GAINS PUBLIC SUPPORT. On 28 February TASR reported that the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia had collected more than 406,000 signatures for a referendum to be held on early elections and on the mandates of parliamentary deputies who have left their parties. Meciar, who is MDS chairman, wants early elections to be held in June and wants deputies who have left their parties to be expelled from parliament. Only 350,000 signatures are needed for organizing a referendum. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARY CONTINUES TO ALLOW NATO AWACS IN ITS AIRSPACE. Hungarian defense ministry spokesman would not comment on whether NATO had an Airborne Warning and Control System plane over Hungary at the time two US Air Force F-16 jets shot down four Serb planes, Reuters reported. Banja Luka, where the incident occurred, is about 125 km (78 miles) away from the Hungarian border. It was, however, confirmed that AWACs based in Germany flew a patrol on Monday. According to MTI, the spokesman emphasized that the shot-down was not connected to the latest NATO ultimatum over Sarajevo but to the UN April 1992 resolution. On 11 February, Hungary asked NATO to discontinue AWAC flights in case of NATO strikes on Serb artillery around Sarajevo. Karoly Okolicsanyi, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIAN STRIKES UPDATE. The RFE/RL correspondent in Bucharest and Radio Bucharest reported on 28 February that many economic sectors had been affected by the strike called by the Cartel Alfa and the Fratia trade union confederations. The Cartel Alfa strike, which affects production in steel, electronics and mining, as well as services, continues on 1 March as well. The organizers put the number of participants at 2.5 million, but the figure included workers who participated in the strike only symbolically, wearing strike-badges. Western agencies reported that the government's union negotiator, Octavian Partenie, said the executive was willing to offer 58,000 lei (just under $37 at the official exchange rate) as a minimum salary. The unions, however, demand that the minimum wage be raised from 45,000 ($28) to 69,000 ($43). Radio Bucharest reported that a court in Targu Jiu on 28 February confirmed that the miners' last month strike had been illegal. A representative of the miners' union said later the miners would resume their protest in a way that could not be viewed as infringing on the law. Another miners' union in the Jiu valley decided to join on 1 March the Cartel Alfa strike and said it would declare a general strike for an unlimited time at a date still to be announced. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc. ETHNIC BULGARIANS RESPOND TO YUGOSLAV AMBASSADOR. Standart of 28 February carried two letters by members of the Bulgarian minority in Serbia reacting to an interview with rump Yugoslav acting ambassador Rados Smilkovic published in the 29 January edition of that daily. Dimitar Dimitrov and Marko Shukarev of the Democratic Union of Bulgarians in Yugoslavia write that they strongly disagree with Smilkovic's claim that Serbian Bulgarians have always been able to promote freely their own culture in Yugoslavia. As evidence, Dimitrov refers to written protests signed by nearly 40,000 Yugoslav citizens and quotes official statistics confirming that the number of ethnic Bulgarians in Yugoslavia dropped from 61,140 in 1948 to 25,214 in 1991. In Kontinent of 28 February, Smilkovic seemed to acknowledge that there are some tensions with the majority Serbs, but he said Bulgarians "are bright and will therefore not allow individual nationalists to push them into a ghetto." Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. MOLDOVAN ELECTION OUTCOME STILL UNCERTAIN. Preliminary returns of Moldova's first multi-party legislative elections, held on 27 February, indicate that the Agrarian Democratic Party has won at least 45% of the votes; the bloc of the Socialist Party and the Interfront 20-25%; and the two main pro-Romanian parties a total of some 15%. The votes of parties which failed to clear the 4% parliamentary hurdle are to be apportioned among the successful parties which will thus gain additional parliamentary seats. The crucial factors in assessing the elections' outcome are whether the Agrarians will surpass or at least reach the 50% mark enabling them to govern without resort to a coalition, and whether the pivotal Social-Democrat Party (whose performance is the great disappointment of these elections) will clear the 4% hurdle. Observer teams from the CSCE, NATO's Parliamentary Assembly, the Council of Europe, and the parliaments of a dozen Western countries have pronounced the elections free and equitable. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIAN RED-BROWNS ON TRANSDNIESTER AND LEBED. In a lengthy dialogue on the situation of Russia's military, published in Zavtra, (no. 7, February 1994), leading Russian ultra-nationalists Aleksandr Nevzorov and Aleksandr Prokhanov described the "Dniester republic" as "our favorite child" and praised Lt.-Gen. Aleksandr Lebed for having led Russia's 14th Army in "masterful operations which threw out the Romanians [i.e. Moldovans] from all their positions." Deploring the rift between Lebed and the "Dniester" leadership, the discussants portrayed Lebed as politically dangerous. He is "unquestionably a great soldier" but "unfortunately craving power more than Yeltsin, more than Zhirinovski," "personifying the great Russian uncontrollable impulses," able to please different audiences, and "lethally cunning;" and he let down the anti-Yeltsin side in October 1993, Nevzorov and Prokhanov said. Yet Lebed "remains important and dear to us." Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. UKRAINE'S ELECTION MARATHON IN FULL SWING. With parliamentary elections less than one month away, Ukraine's officials are reporting that a total of 5,833 candidates have been registered, for an average of 13 candidates competing for office in each of the country's 450 electoral districts. The contests will be especially heated in Kiev, where 21 candidates per district is the average. Only 11 percent of all candidates were put forth by political parties. Close to 27 percent were put forth by "workers' collectives" and the remaining 62 percent by simple groups of voters. In view of the high number of candidates per seat, an important second round of elections is expected. Indeed, some experts predict that the number of winners in the first round, on March 27, will fall short of the 300 minimum legally required for the new Supreme Council to begin its work. Kathleen Mihalisko, RFE/RL, Inc. PRO-UKRAINIAN JOURNALISTS BEING HARASSED IN CRIMEA. On 28 February Radio Ukraine aired a report from a correspondent in Simferopol alleging that pro-Ukrainian journalists in Crimea are being increasingly subjected to harassment by Russian ultra-nationalist groups. It cited examples of journalists being spat upon, threatened with violence, and accused of collaborating with "Ukrainian nationalism" and "American Zionism." In recent days, there have been pickets outside the radio and TV building in Sevastopol demanding "Russian TV for a Russian City" (Radio Ukraine noted that Sevastopol's TV broadcasts are already aired exclusively in Russian). In Simferopol, protesters have demanded the sacking of TV and radio journalists accused of not sharing the pro-Russian views of newly elected Crimean president Yurii Meshkov. Meshkov had asked the president of the Crimean TV and Radio Company, Valerii Astakhov, to resign but the latter has refused to comply. Bohdan Nahaylo, RFE/RL, Inc. PRESS CONFERENCE OF LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT. At a press conference broadcast live by Radio Lithuania on 28 February, Algirdas Brazauskas commented on various aspects of Lithuania's foreign policy. The draft treaty with Poland reflects their territorial integrity with Vilnius and Warsaw as capitals and the inviolability of borders. When asked about the return of property to some Polish and Jewish organizations, he said that according to Lithuanian laws persons getting their property back must be Lithuanian citizens permanently living in the republic. He also noted that he had not yet received any reply to his offer in June to Israel and the Simon Wiesenthal Center to form a joint commission to investigate genocide against Jews in Lithuania. He praised the government's efforts to find out why Russia has not yet ratified the most favored nation trade agreement with Lithuania signed in November and said that he had not yet had time to read the Russian proposal on military transit through Lithuania. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. MORE ESTONIAN, LATVIAN TALKS WITH RUSSIA ON TROOP WITHDRAWALS SCHEDULED. Recent statements from Russian officials suggest that Moscow is shifting its emphasis on conditions for the withdrawal of its troops from Estonia and Latvia this year. One such condition has been "social guarantees" for the retired military living in the two Baltic republics. Moscow would prefer that those retirees who would like to stay in the Baltics eventually become citizens, or, at least permanent residents there, while Tallinn and Riga would like to see as many of them as possible leave since they fear the retirees could become a "fifth column." As if backtracking on previously agreed points, Russian Foreign Ministry official Aleksandr Udaltsev told Interfax on 28 February that the claims that Russia has pledged to withdraw its troops from Estonia before 31 August "are unfounded," and pointed out that "the background against which the next round of Russian-Estonian talks is not too favorable." These talks are to resume in Tallinn on 1 March. The Latvian-Russian talks on troop pullouts have been rescheduled for 14 March. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. ALBANIAN JOURNALISTS CONVICTED. On 28 February the trial against two journalists from the independent daily Koha Jone and two officers in the Albanian armed forces ended, Koha Jone and Western media report. Among the four accused of involvement in publishing state secrets related to the defense ministry, three were sentenced to prison. While reporter Martin Leka was convicted to 18 months imprisonment, the chief editor of Koha Jone--Alexander Frangaj--received a light one-month sentence. Romeo Licaj, a defense ministry official, received a five year sentence for turning over the information to the journalists. Robert Austin and Kjell Engelbrekt [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Elizabeth Teague and Dan Ionescu The RFE/RL Daily Report is produced by the RFE/RL Research Institute (a division of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc.) with the assistance of the RFE/RL News and Current Affairs Division (NCA). The report is available by electronic mail by subscribing to RFERL-L at LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU, on the Sovset' computer bulletin board, by fax, and by postal mail. Requests for permission to reprint or retransmit this material should be addressed to PD@RFERL.ORG. Such requests will generally be granted on the condition that the material is clearly attributed to the RFE/RL Daily Report. 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