Serbian folk queen in court on new battery charges

AP News
Posted: Nov 24, 2011 6:19 AM
Serbian folk queen in court on new battery charges

Serbia's folk music queen emerged on Thursday from house arrest to face new charges in Belgrade of violent behavior.

Dressed in black, Svetlana Raznatovic, better known as Ceca, appeared briefly at a Belgrade court before the judges adjourned the hearing for December.

Raznatovic and another person are accused of insulting and beating up the manager of a soccer club.

Raznatovic is already serving eight months under house arrest as part of a plea bargain for pleading guilty in an illegal sale of soccer players from her late husband's soccer club.

The plea deal from May also envisaged that Raznatovic pay euro1.5 million ($2 million) fine for embezzling millions gained from the players' transfer.

Raznatovic was married to the notorious warlord Zeljko Raznatovic, also known as Arkan, whose troops were accused of atrocities during the 1990s Balkan wars.

Arkan was gunned down in a Belgrade hotel in 2000, but Ceca continued to manage his football club while allegedly also maintaining connections with Serbian crime bosses and former paramilitary leaders.

The singer is one of the most popular in the Balkans, known for her plunging necklines and hoarse voice.

Ceca has for years evaded legal prosecution thanks to the support of many political leaders who consider her untouchable because of her huge popularity.

She was jailed for four months in 2003 in connection with the assassination of Serbian reformist Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic.

Police at the time found a huge cache of weapons in her home in the upscale Belgrade Dedinje district.