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news 07 Nov 16

Montenegro Prosecution Accused of Fabricating Russian Plot Claims

Montenegro's opposition bloc on Monday has accused the prosecution of fabricating claims that Russian and Serbian nationalists plotted a coup attempt on election day.

Dusica Tomovic
Montenegrin prosecutors Stankovic and Katnic during the parliamentary hearings on February 10. Photo: skupstina.me.

Montenegro's main opposition alliance, the Democratic Front, on Monday called on the prosecution to reveal which political structures and politicians collaborated with Russian nationalists in an alleged plot to overthrow Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic.

Nebojsa Medojevic, a leader of the Font, claimed the state prosecution made up both the terrorists and the alleged coup plot because it needed an alibi "to arrest the leaders of the opposition.

"The opposition has a great responsibility to stay together, not to recognize the results of such irregular elections, to boycott the parliament and organize protests," Medojevic said.

The Front has also demanded the removal of Special Prosecutor Milivoje Katnic to prevent even greater harm from being done to the legal and political system of Montenegro, claiming he was "hired by Prime Minister Djukanovic" to arrest people without evidence and to made the general election on October 16 irregular.

Katnic on Sunday accused two nationalists from Russia - with the help of allies in Montenegro and Serbia - of having planned a coup on election day to overthrow the government and "kill Prime Minister Djukanovic".

Russian government was not involved into an alleged attempt to kill Montenegro’s Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, the Kremlin spokesman said on Monday, Reuters reported.

“We, obviously, categorically deny a possibility of official involvement into arranging any illegal actions,” Dmitry Peskov said in a response to a question on the investigation into a plot to kill Djukanovic.

The Chief Special Prosecutor for Organized Crime said the prosecution had evidence that a criminal organization was formed in Russia, Serbia, Montenegro to commit "a terrorist attack".

The prosecution’s dramatic claims on Sunday angered some independent media outlets and rights group after Katnic refused to answer their questions about the alleged inconsistency of the findings of the prosecution.

Prosecutors first claimed that terrorists were planning to "arrest Djukanovic" and later that there was a plan for his assassination.

The Special Prosecutor has also presented contradictory findings about the weapons that were supposedly found related to the alleged terror attack.

The prosecution said nationalists from Russia allegedly took the view that Prime Minister Djukanovic's pro-Western regime could not be changed 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.

"We don't have any evidence that the state of Russia is involved in any sense ... but we have evidence that two nationalists from Russia were organizers," he said.

The prosecution also presented the evidence it seized during the investigation in a three-minute video, including the equipment used by special police forces, an iron wire used to block roads, handcuffs, bats, Motorola phones, pepper sprays and more.

However, the opposition said it proved nothing as such equipment could be bought anywhere for a couple of euros.

On general election day, on October 16, a group of 2o Serbian citizens, including a former commander of the Serbian Gendarmerie, Bratislav Dikic, were arrested in Montenegro and accused of planning a coup.

On general election day, on October 16, a group of 2o Serbian citizens, including a former commander of the Serbian Gendarmerie, Bratislav Dikic, were arrested in Montenegro and accused of planning a coup.
- See more at: http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/montenegro-s-prosecution-says-nationalists-from-russia-behind-coup--11-06-2016#sthash.qklYc180.dpuf

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

Last week, another Serbian national, Aleksandar Sindjelic, was also arrested in Montenegro on suspicion of organizing terrorist attacks.

Montenegrin lawmakers have convened for the first time since last month's election with opposition parties boycotting the inaugural session amid tensions over alleged foiled coup attempt orchestrated by Russian nationalists.

The session Monday in the historic capital of Cetinje was attended by 42 lawmakers in the 81-seat parliament, including members of the ruling pro-Western DPS party and allied groups.

It was held a day after a Montenegrin prosecutor said unidentified Russian nationalists were behind the election day plot to assassinate the country's prime minister and take over power because of his government's NATO membership bid.

The Kremlin has denied involvement.

Opposition parties have rejected the result of the Oct. 16 vote, claiming it was rigged. The DPS won 36 seats, followed by opposition Democratic Front with 18 seats.

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