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News 26 Feb 13

Montenegro Parliament To Probe Media Wiretapping Claims

A parliamentary committee has called a hearing with the interior minister and special prosecutor following an opposition daily's claims that its journalists were secretly surveyed.

Milena Milosevic
BIRN
Podgorica

Djurdjina Ivanovic, the special prosecutor, and Rasko Konjevic, the Interior Minister, will be summoned to appear before parliament's Committee for Security and Defence, this body agreed on Monday.

The hearing, probably in mid-March, follows allegations that the institutions headed by the two officials abused their competences to order secret surveillance measures of journalists.

The opposition daily Dan on Sunday claimed that its deputy editor, Nikola Markovic, and two journalists, Mitar Rakcevic and Drazen Zivkovic, were wired-tapped while reporting on numerous affairs that have shaken the country.

“During the secret surveillance measures of Nikola Markovic, his contacts with opposition leaders, NGO representatives and independent media were recorded,” the Podgorica-based newspaper said.

It said that the abuse of this exceptional measure had been revealed by the new Social Democratic Party Interior Minister, who was appointed following the October 2012 general election.

The contacts of the journalists that allegedly drew the attention of the police, were, among others, connected to the so-called Telekom affair, which has raised accuations of corruption during the privatization process of the telecommunications company.

The daily claims that it came under the police spotlight also after it published secret documents from the investigation into Darko Saric, a suspected drug lord of Montenegrin origin who is currently at large.

The Criminal Code allows for secret surveillance measures by the police on the order of a investigative judge or state prosecutor - but only against the persons suspected of grave crimes and their alleged accomplices.

In their response to the allegations of the daily, MPs said they will also visit the police department in charge of the implementation of secret surveillance measures.

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