Montenegro Detains Serbian Witness in ‘Coup Plot’ Trial
The Higher Court in Podgorica on Monday issued an extradition detention order for Sasa Sindjelic, who was arrested in Montenegro on the basis of an Interpol 'red notice' requested by the authorities in Croatia, where he is wanted.
"The investigative judge at the Higher Court in Podgorica has ordered extradition custody for Sasa Sindjelic based on the Interpol notice," High Court spokesperson Aida Muzurovic told Vijesti newspaper.
Police said the red notice was issued by Croatia because Sindjelic was sentenced to 21 years in prison for murder and theft in the country.
Montenegrin special state prosecutor Milivoje Katnic told parliament two weeks ago that Sindjelic, who is a Serbian citizen, arrived illegally in Montenegro.
Sindjelic was one of 20 Serbian citizens accused of involvement in an alleged plot to overthrow the government in Montenegro during elections in October 2016.
Although he was originally a suspect in the case, he was then given protected witness status.
During the trial, he claimed that the suspects behind the alleged plot did not plan to stage a coup and only wanted to rally in support of the opposition.
In the first-instance verdict in May, the Higher Court sentenced 13 people, including two Russian military intelligence officers, eight Serbs and two Montenegrin opposition leaders to up to 15 years in prison for staging the coup attempt. Defence lawyers said they will appeal.
The defendants were found guilty of plotting to commit "terrorist acts" and undermine the constitutional order of Montenegro during the parliamentary elections with a view to overthrowing the pro-Western government and preventing the country from joining NATO.
The defendants denied plotting a coup, calling it a...