Milosevic laid to rest

BIDDING ADIEU: Flowers being scattered as the funeral procession of Slobodan Milosevic passes through Pozarevac, his hometown, on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: - PHOTO: AP

The former Serbian leader buried in the backyard of family's estate

POZAREVAC (SERBIA-MONTENEGRO):Slobodan Milosevic was buried at dusk on Saturday beneath a favourite tree in the backyard of his family's estate in his hometown, after farewell ceremonies that drew tens of thousands of nationalist supporters.

As a cold drizzle fell, the coffin of the former Serbian leader _ who died a week ago while on U.N. trial for presiding over some of Europe's worst atrocities since World War II - was lowered into the grave. It was marked with a simple marble slab carved with his name and the dates: 1941-2006.

The grave, placed in the middle of a square of crimson carpet framed by brass stands holding red velvet ropes, was a double one with room for his widow, Mirjana Markovic, who reportedly said she wants to join him when she dies. Her name also was inscribed in Cyrilic letters on the stone.

It was dug beneath a linden tree where the couple first kissed as high school sweethearts.

No immediate members of Milosevic's family attended, but in a letter read out at graveside, Markovic, who lives in self-imposed exile in Moscow, said: ``You have come back to our home to rest in the place you loved the most."

"You lost your life while fighting for noble causes. You were killed by villains. But I know you will live for ever for all who wish to live like human beings," her letter said.

Markovic, who lives in Russia along with the couple's son, Marko, faces Serbian charges of abuse of power during Milosevic's 13-year reign. A letter from Marko Milosevic also was read, and he said he hoped the late president's death would "sober up the humiliated Serb people."

"To die for one's country means to live forever," his letter said. No priest officiated at the interment because Milosevic was an avowed atheist.