Five more Serbs were sentenced to five months in prison on charges of preparing a coup in Montenegro
Court of Montenegro on Wednesday, 8 March, was sentenced to prison for five months a group of Serb citizens in the case of plotting a coup during the parliamentary election in October last year and the assassination of Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic. Five of the defendants entered into a plea deal in exchange for the commutation of sentences, as did three more of their fellow citizens in the past month, according to France 24 , citing AFP.
In a statement, the state Prosecutor of Montenegro stated: “Five citizens of Serbia admitted that was part of a criminal organization, the plan of which was to forcibly invade the Parliament of Montenegro” with a view to its capture. The state Prosecutor alleges that the conspiracy included a plan to assassinate the Prime Minister of the country on the day of parliamentary elections on 16 October.
We will remind, on February 25, five of the defendants signed the agreement with Montenegro spectaculator plea in the preparation of the coup in parliamentary elections in the country.
16 February, the Supreme court of Montenegro adopted the agreement on recognition of guilt between spectaculator and three of the accused citizens of Serbia. Aleksandar Aleksic, Milos Acimovic and Perica Andric as part of the deal was sentenced only to five months in prison for participating in the preparation of the coup.
Famous Montenegrin lawyer, Branislav Lutovac said AFP that “a case of attempt of terrorism was full of contradictions.” So, eight received a “lenient sentences for serious crimes,” said the lawyer, noting that the accusatory statement “will allow the Prosecutor to use as evidence against other defendants”. According to him, this should result in a “very interesting trial”.
The Montenegrin authorities have accused the “Russian nationalists” in the organization of the alleged conspiracy, saying that the Pro-Russian Serbs were hired to implement it. Only the Prosecutor’s office of Montenegro suspects 25 people, mostly citizens of Serbia of involvement in the alleged coup.
Among the “conspirators” were two Russians – Vladimir Popov, Eduard Shirokov (Shishmakov), the alleged chief organizer. Both are in the international wanted list. That the citizens of the Russian Federation played a key role in the plot, Montenegrin media reported in November 2016, citing the Prosecutor’s office.
According to investigators, Shirokov and priests in September last year, organized in Montenegro, Serbia, and Russia a group to commit a coup. The recruitment of the coup, and for the purchase of equipment and weapons were answered by a Serbian nationalist Alexander Sindzhelich.
Currently Sindzhelich arrested and is collaborating with the investigation of the witness. He said that on 26 September 2016, visited Moscow at the invitation of the representative of “Russian military structures,” Edward Shishmakova for instructions for the execution of the mission, said earlier in Prosecutor’s office of Montenegro.
Also under suspicion were two leading Pro-Russian policy of Montenegro, Montenegrin leaders of the “Democratic front” (DF) Milan knežević and Andrew Mandic. Last month they were deprived of parliamentary immunity, to face charges. Politicians have repeatedly denied any involvement in the coup. Mandic and knežević also claimed not to know any of those under suspicion of the Serbs.
Montenegro expects in 2017 to join NATO. In Russia, this intention is considered as a “provocation”. Moscow opposed the expansion of NATO to the Balkans. Montenegro’s accession would strengthen the NATO presence in the region, as Greece, Croatia and Albania are already members of a military Alliance.