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News 07 Feb 18

Ex-General Charged Over Montenegro 'Coup' Starts Hunger Strike

Retired Serbian General Bratislav Dikic, one of the main suspects in the alleged coup attempt in Montenegro, has gone on a hunger strike while in custody.

Filip Rudic
BIRN
Belgrade
Bratislav Dikic. Photo: Ivanmiletic011/Wikipedia

Former Serbian Gendarmerie Commander Bratislav Dikic, who is on trial in Montenegro over the alleged coup attempt of October 2016, started refusing food, water, and medical assistance on Wednesday.

Dikic’s lawyer, Dusan Jovovic, told BIRN that his client went on hunger strike because in custody he cannot receive the medical care that he needs and has been using – and the High Court in Podgorica has still has not answered his request for release.

“[Dikic] is using foreign medicine and alternative treatment methods that are not on the Health Ministry’s list, so he cannot receive adequate medical care,” the lawyer said, adding that his client's health was poor.

Dikic and 19 other Serbian citizens are accused of plotting a coup in Montenegro on October 16 to overthrow the country's pro-Western government.

Their apparent aim was to assassinate then Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, bring the pro-Russian opposition parties to power and halt the drive to join NATO.

Opposition parties and some anti-government media in Montenegro have continued to dismiss the coup allegations as unfounded.

They say the whole affair was staged by the authorities to ensure Djukanovic won another election and besmirch the opposition.

Russia has also denied involvement in the alleged plot.

However, Moscow supports the Democratic Front and other opposition groups that opposed NATO membership and champion closer ties to the Kremlin.

Russia strongly objected to Montenegro joining NATO, and threatened unspecified retaliation after the country became a member of the Western alliance in June.

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