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news 06 Nov 16

Russian, Serbian, Nationalists Accused of Plotting Montenegro Coup

The Montenegrin prosecution on Sunday accused 'nationalists' from Russia and Serbia - with the help of allies in Montenegro - of having planned a coup on election day to overthrow the government.

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN
Podgorica
 
 The prosecution said it seized equipment from alleged terrorists. Photo: Montenegrin Prosecution.

Montenegro's Chief Special Prosecutor for Organized Crime, Milivoje Katnic, on Sunday accused "nationalists in Russia" of having organized a criminal group that was tasked with overthrowing the government on election day on October 16.

Katnic told an extraordinary press conference that the prosecution had evidence that a criminal organization was formed in Russia, Serbia, Montenegro to commit "a terrorist attack".

Nationalists from Russia and Serbia allegedly took the view that Prime Minister Milo 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, buckles with metal balls.

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.

The Montenegrin Prosecutor's Office later said it had “reasonable suspicion” that a criminal organisation had been formed in Serbia and Montenegro with a plan to attack the police in front of the parliament once the results of the election were announced, before taking over the assembly and declaring that a party of their choice had won the polls.

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.

Sindjelic was placed in 30 days' custody in Podgorica but the Montenegrin Prosecution has not confirmed any charges, saying the investigation is confidential.

Media reports have suggested that Sindjelic was arrested in Belgrade, Serbia, and that he, Dikic and a third Serbian citizen, Kristina Hristic, ran the criminal group that was planning an attack in Montenegro.

The other 17 suspects arrested on election day in Montenegro have meanwhile been freed, fuelling suspicion that the Montenegrin prosecution have not come up with much hard evidence in support of its terrorism charges.

The opposition in Montenegro and some anti-government media outlets continue to claim that the coup was staged by the authorities to ensure Djukanovic won another election.

Djukanovic's Democratic Party of Socialists went on to win the election.

Supreme State Prosecutor Ivica Stankovic, on Sunday denied that the terrorism charges were made up, and that the coup attempt was staged.

"Some information has appeared in part of the public that everything was staged. But I’m telling you that the prosecution has evidence," he said.


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