Mon­tene­gro coup plot trial ad­journed

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

PODGORICA, Mon­tene­gro:

The trial of two pro-Rus­sian op­po­si­tion lead­ers and 12 others over their role in an al­leged bid to top­ple Mon­tene­gro’s gov­ern­ment was ad­journed yes­ter­day af­ter claims the prose­cu­tor was bi­ased. The 14 sus­pects, who risk lengthy jail terms, in­clude Demo­cratic Front lead­ers An­drija Mandic and Milan Kneze­vic as well as two Rus­sian na­tion­als who will be tried in ab­sen­tia. “The prose­cu­tor put pres­sure on de­fen­dants and their lawyers. We are talk­ing about ab­so­lute bias,” Milan Petro­vic, one of the de­fense lawyers, told the court.

Prose­cu­tor Milivoje Kat­nic has also pub­lished tran­scripts of a con­ver­sa­tion be­tween a prom­i­nent lawyer and one of the ac­cused he was sup­posed to de­fend. “We are shocked with such be­hav­ior,” Petro­vic said. A rul­ing on the de­mand is ex­pected by to­day.

Mon­tene­grin po­lice ar­rested a group of Ser­bians on the eve of a gen­eral elec­tion in Oc­to­ber, ac­cus­ing them of plan­ning to storm par­lia­ment and tar­get the pro-Western Milo Djukanovic, who was then prime min­is­ter. Au­thor­i­ties al­lege that “Rus­sian state bod­ies” were in­volved in the con­spir­acy in a bid to pre­vent Mon­tene­gro from join­ing NATO. The trial has drawn huge pub­lic and me­dia in­ter­est. The court­room was packed and a few dozen Demo­cratic Front sup­port­ers waited out­side with plac­ards say­ing: “Free­dom for An­drija and Milan,” the two pro-Rus­sian op­po­si­tion lead­ers. —AFP

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