- Title: Montenegrin court postpones first hearing in trial of alleged coup conspirators
- Date: 19th July 2017
- Summary: PODGORICA, MONTENEGRO (JULY 19, 2017) (REUTERS) POLICE IN FRONT OF HIGHER COURT IN PODGORICA HEAVILY ARMED POLICE IN FRONT OF COURT POLICE CONVOY WITH DEFENDANTS ARRIVING AT COURT POLICE VANS WITH DEFENDANTS ENTERING COURT GATE GATE CLOSES BEHIND POLICE VAN POLICEMAN HOLDING RIFLE MEDIA AND SPECTATORS IN FRONT OF COURT ENTRANCE OPPOSITION DEMOCRATIC FRONT LEADER AND DEFENDANT ANDRIJA MANDIC ARRIVING AT COURT, GREETING PEOPLE (SOUNDBITE) (Montenegrin) MONTENEGRIN OPPOSITION DEMOCRATIC FRONT PARTY LEADER, ANDRIJA MANDIC, SAYING: "What does the Democratic Front have (to do) with any criminal activities? Innocent people are in jail and I believe that today and in the coming days we will manage to totally smash the false constructions of (special prosecutor) Milivoje Katnic and stop the state terror carried out against the Democratic Front." PEOPLE ENTERING COURT BUILDING MANDIC AND OTHERS ENTERING COURT
- Embargoed: 2nd August 2017 13:10
- Keywords: trial alleged Russia-backed plot attempt to overthrow the Montenegrin government NATO
- Location: PODGORICA, MONTENEGRO
- City: PODGORICA, MONTENEGRO
- Country: Montenegro
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice,Judicial Process/Court Cases/Court Decisions
- Reuters ID: LVA0016QDV7EH
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL THAT WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
The Higher Court in Podgorica on Wednesday (July 19) postponed the first hearing in a case against 14 people, including two Russian and several Serbian nationals, local opposition politicians and a former Serbian police chief commander accused of taking part in a Moscow-backed attempt at a coup plan, which allegedly included the assassination of the then prime minister Milo Djukanovic.
The defendants are charged as allegedly plotting to block Montenegro's accession to NATO by violently taking over state institutions on the day of an election last year and to kill Djukanovic, who held the post for a total of 21 years.
Proceedings were postponed with a defence petition to exempt special prosecutor Milivoj Katnic and other prosecutors from his office. Defence said that the leaking of a transcript of a conversation between one of the defendants and his lawyer showed them as biased.
Montenegro and other countries in the region fear meddling from Moscow to further what they believe is a Russian foreign policy of expansion. The Kremlin has dismissed the accusation as absurd. Montenegro's opposition accuses the government of fabricating the plot in order to keep Djukanovic and his Democratic Party of Socialists in power, which it did by a narrow win.
No date has been set for the next hearing.
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