news 28 Dec 16

Montenegro Issues Warrant For Alleged Coup Plotters

Montenegro has issued an international arrest warrant for two Russians and three Serbs who were allegedly involved in a plot on October 16 to overthrow the government.

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN
Podgorica
Montenegrin prosecutors Ivica Stankovic and Milivoje Katnic during the parliamentary hearing on February 10. Photo: skupstina.me.

The Montenegrin prosecution on Tuesday said an arrest warrant had been issued for five persons in connection with "terrorist" activities - including plans to kill the former Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic on election day, October 16.

The warrants are for the arrest of "two citizens of Russia and three citizens of Serbia in connection with the setting-up of a criminal organization and terrorism," the prosecution said.

All information on the wanted persons has been uploaded onto the Interpol database, the prosecution said.

Media reports earlier identified the Russians as Eduard Shirokov and Vladimir Popov.

One of the Serbian citizens on the warrant list has been identified as Nemanja Ristic, who appeared in a photo standing near Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on December 12, during Lavrov's visit to Belgrade. The other two names have not been revealed.

Serbia's Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic on Monday said he did not know whether Ristic figured on an Interpol wanted list or not.

The Serbian and Russian governments have denied all involvement in the alleged anti-NATO plot, as pro-government media in Montenegro call it.

Special Prosecutor Milivoje Katnic in November admitted that the prosecution has no proof that the Russian state was involved in the affair.

On November 18, Katnic said that a group of Serbs, Montenegrins and Russians tried to organize a terrorist act on October 16.

He claimed the security services had stalled the coup after the arrest of 20 Serbian citizens, including a former Serbian police general, Bratislav Dikic.

The group planned to break into the parliament, kill Prime Minister Djukanovic and bring a pro-Russian coalition to power, the prosecution said.

It said nationalists from Russia and Serbia took the view that Montenegro's pro-Western regime could not be overthrown peacefully in an election, but only by violence.

"Planning to violently to overthrow the legally elected government, they formed a criminal organization to commit a terrorist act," Katnic said.

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