Jackson Asks for Relief Workers' Release
By Michael Fletcher
Jesse Jackson yesterday called on Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to free three relief workers held in prison in Yugoslavia on espionage charges, declaring they "are not spies, they are war trophies."
Appearing at a news conference with several members of a religious delegation that accompanied him to Belgrade last month to win the release of three U.S. soldiers, Jackson said the group is willing to return to Yugoslavia to make personal appeals for the release of the relief workers, Australians Steven Pratt and Peter Wallace and Yugoslav native Branko Jelen. The three, fieldworkers for the international relief agency CARE, were arrested in March and convicted of helping NATO select targets for its airstrikes.
"If necessary, we will go to make the appeal for their release in person," Jackson said.
In addition to calling for the release of the three alleged spies, Jackson warned the NATO alliance against making Milosevic's removal from power a precondition for humanitarian aid to suffering Yugoslavs. "There should be no roadblocks to those who need help," Jackson said.
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