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Luxury in Prison

by V. Zalac, Evropske Novosti, FR Yugoslavia, 10/25/95

Marinko Magda, a Yugoslav citizen born in Subotica, will spend the rest of his life in a well guarded and lavishly equipped prison cell in Hungary, provided this country's Supreme Court doesn't change the verdict of Dr. Zoltan Varga, the president of the three member council of the District Court in Budapest.

Until the final verdict is pronounced, and the date for that hasn't been officially announced yet, Magda will stay in a special cell, with modern equipment, in the Budapest Investigative Prison.

This cell looks more like a room in one of the capital's hotels on the famous and well guarded Marko Street; more then 2 million of Forints have been spent for its adaptation, furniture and a color TV with a remote control.

The prison is connected via special corridors and elevators to the Palace of Justice, where Magda, the former officer in the French Foreign Legion, was sentenced three months ago to the life in prison; this punishment, the harshest in the Hungarian law, has been in the Hungarian constitution since 1990.

Possible Surprises

It is persistently reported that the Supreme Court verdict in this case will also be proclaimed in the beautiful hall of the District Court in Budapest.

As we have unofficially been told, this is the safest option for the Hungarian police, since the whole action of transportation of the prisoner who has received the largest amount of media attention in the recent history of Hungarian Justice, would be out of reach of the street crowd and therefore avoid the risk of potential unpleasant surprises.

"I don't intend to appeal nor to state anything. A 9mm bullet will speak on my behalf one day," repeated Magda on his way out of the courtroom after the pronouncement of the verdict; he also said to the gathered journalists that in the following two decades many pleasant and unpleasant surprises may occur.

The Hungarian newspaper justice columns, although not on the front pages any more, are still consumed with descriptions of the most spectacular and controversial trial in the Hungarian courtrooms; recently, some new and interesting details have been revealed.

Readers of the Hungarian daily newspapers have been told that the final verdict probably won't even for an inch reduce the verdict proclaimed on 10/6/95 on behalf of the three member Court Council by the correct and patient judge, Dr. Zoltan Varga.

Most commentators are criticizing the police and judicial authorities; they suggest that Marinko Magda "should have been sent to his homeland, where he would probably hang for the crimes described in the Yugoslav indictment."

"This way," continues the commentator for the high circulation capital paper, Pest Report, "Magda remains in our jail and unfortunately in care of our increasingly poor state."

According to one calculation, Hungarian authorities spend 2,000 Forints per prisoner every day; Magda's day is however, according to the well informed sources, much more expensive. The already mentioned 2,000 Forints spent on regular prisoners include, besides food, rent, heating, electricity, warm water and finally monthly salaries of the prison guards.

The expenses for the former officer in the French Foreign Legion are much higher since Magda, as is emphasized here, is a high risk prisoner. Magda is treated significantly better than other prisoners and that includes a cozy and well guarded cell, color TV with a remote control, newspapers, writing and drawing supplies, since this prisoner has equally developed inclination for painting and literary work, and finally specially trained guards.

Police publicly stated that Magda will, provided he stays in Hungarian prisons for 25 years, cost the state more than 18 million Forints.

This amount, say police officials, will be significantly exceeded, since it is expected that after the pronouncement of the final verdict, Magda will temporarily be moved to the most famous jails in Hungary.

Occasional Relocations

It is already known that this prisoner, for whom both journalists and readers say that their country would be better off without him, will be moved after the pronouncement of the final verdict to a special cell of the famous prison in Sator Uyhely, close to the border with Ukraine and Slovakia.

The adaptation of a number of cells which are already being used for holding of criminals sentenced to long jail terms has recently been finished in that Hungarian "Alcatraz", and in several other prisons in Hungary.

The equipment for only one of these cells costs close to 3 million Forints. The unconfirmed information that Magda might remain, even after the pronouncement of the final verdict, in the cell of the Investigation Prison in Budapest, which is according to the officials the most secure place from which it is almost impossible to escape, has been leaked from the police headquarters.

Also, opinions of citizens from different walks of life have been published; they were united in saying that Hungary doesn't need this kind of a prisoner. As they said, the portion of their salaries and pensions would be used for the accommodation and upkeep of the most expensive prisoner in Hungary.

According to them, an average citizen of Hungary cannot earn in a lifetime the amount that will be spent on upkeep of the prisoner with a Yugoslav passport.


Translated on 1/16/96
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The Man For a New Direction

by Sl. Pesevic, Evropske Novosti, FR Yugoslavia, 10/25/95

Rajko Kasagic, until recently the president of the District government in Banja Luka, is the fourth prime minister since the founding of the Republic of Srpska. In the past, this duty was performed by Dr. Baranko Deric, Dr. Vladimir Lukic and Dusan Kozic.

Fighter From the First Day of the War

Who is Rajko Kasagic? He is a lawyer, a man who spent most of his working years on positions of responsibility in the former state company "Jelsingrad", mostly working on legal matters. He was, that should not be hidden, a member of the Communist League for more than 20 years, with prominent social engagements in local sport teams, the boxing team "Slavija" for example.

His liking of martial arts perhaps compelled him to join the veteran fighters of the Serb Democratic Party (SDS), whose member he has been since the founding. After the convincing victory of the parties with "the national prefix" [in the first post-communist elections in 1990] in Bosnia, he became the president of the District government in Banja Luka, where he remained (survived?) for almost five years. His leadership style in this political body was authoritative, the meetings were short and productive; he will probably bring this leadership style to his new office as the prime minister of the Republic of Srpska.

Some foreign media have already stated that the new prime minister is a member of the hawkish wing of SDS, a man who is too loyal, both personally and politically, to the president of RS, Dr. Radovan Karadzic.

Kasagic stated a while ago, at the Parliament session in Bijeljina, that he wouldn't make changes in the government, but that "in the near future, with help of SDS, will evaluate the present government members and make changes where appropriate." He, therefore, won't hurry with changes of ministers; the respect of "SDS's opinion" clearly shows that Kasagic is a disciplined party member. The trust implied in his appointment to the highest office in the government is the best indicator of his personal loyalty to Karadzic.

During his first radio address to the public, broadcasted on the waves of Radio Banja Luka, Mr. Kasagic dedicated the bulk of the speech to the increased accountability on all levels "because the former regime has almost put us to sleep".

Responsibility

"It is hard to build a new system, but we have to do it," said Kasagic. "For example, the District government in Banja Luka, demonstrated that it is possible to replace officials in state owned companies whose performance is not satisfactory. I will fight against resistance to dismissals, if the authorities establish that a civilian is culpable, regardless what he might be responsible for. We'll have to appoint people who can work better. We'll have to build the system of accountability. Mr. Pacanac phoned me this morning to congratulate me on my appointment to the new office. I asked from him only one thing: his greatest contribution to this state would be to keep the criminals in the jail."

With this words, the new prime minister announced the changes in the leadership and the fight against all kinds of criminal activity. Once the peace takes hold Kasagic will work for stronger links with the mother Serbia and Yugoslavia; he will also demand from the military authorities to demobilize the older soldiers, who can then immediately take part in the process of the economic renewal of RS. He believes that, in peace, one quarter of the present number of mobilized soldiers will be sufficient to defend the borders!


Translated on 1/16/96
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