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news 19 Dec 16

'Coup' Grilling Angers Montenegro Opposition Leader

One of the leaders of the pro-Russian opposition group, Andrija Mandic, accused the prosecution of political bias after he was questioned over the alleged 'coup attempt' on election day.

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN
Podgorica
 
The Democratic Front leaders Andrija Mandic, right, and Nebojsa Medojevic in the party headquarter on October 17. Photo: Beta/ AP/ Darko Vojinovic.

Montenegro's Special Prosecution for Organize Crime on Monday questioned one of the leaders of the pro-Russian opposition, asking him to supply "additional explanations" about an alleged coup plot that unravelled in the country on election day.

Andrija Mandic, leader of the NOVA party which is part of the Democratic Front alliance, was questioned as a "citizen" and not as a suspect because of a criminal complaint filed by the Front in early October, warning of plans to provoke violence on election day, on October 16.

Leaders of the Democratic Front claim that the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS, led by former Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, planned violence with the help of people from the underworld, to upset free and fair elections.

The Front alleges that criminal elements were planning to kill the Front's leaders and create "chaos in the streets of the capital, Podgorica".

Following the elections, the prosecution has claimed the exact opposite - launching an investigation into 20 citizens of Montenegro, Serbia and Russia, including a politician from the Front whose name was not disclosed, on suspicion of plotting to kill the then Prime Minister, Djukanovc, and carry out a coup to overthrow the DPS-led government.

After the hearing on Monday, Mandic said that the Front does not trust Special Prosecutor, Milivoje Katnic, accusing him of working for the government in its fight against the opposition alliance.

He urged Katnic to resign and leave the case to someone else who would be more impartial and professional.

'It is important that we in the Front unmask the monstrous and dangerous story, from which only Djukanovic and his party could benefit," he repeated.

Besides Mandic, the prosecution is this week expected to question two other alliance officials, Nebojsa Medojevic and Slaven Radunovic, about the alleged failed coup on October 16.

Authorities in Montenegro claim they stalled the coup planned for October 16, which they say was planned by  a consortium of "nationalists" from Serbia, Russia and Montenegro.

Twenty Serbian citizens, including a former Serbian police general, Bratislav Dikic, were arrested in Montenegro on October 16 in connection with the alleged plot.

On November 18, the Special Prosecution released the names of two Russians - Eduard Shirokov and Vladimir Popov - who it accused of organizing the plot.

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