Worrying about the state or who's next: Why the latest arrests prompted DPS's wildest response yet

"Vijesti" interlocutors claim that the strongest opposition party "swimmed wisely" for a long time, but that it is now showing nervousness due to "fear of the further course of investigations". The DPS did not answer why Novović is only now being called a "sky prosecutor". They claim that the goal of Katnić's arrest is to cancel the process in the case of the "coup d'état"

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DPS accuses him of persecuting: Novović, Photo: Boris Pejović
DPS accuses him of persecuting: Novović, Photo: Boris Pejović
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.

The attacks of the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) on the Special State Prosecutor's Office (SDT) due to the recent arrests of former and current high-ranking state officials, represent pressure on the work of that institution, and possibly fear of what new investigations could lead to.

This, among other things, was assessed by the interlocutors of "Vijesti", commenting on the never sharper reactions of the strongest opposition party to the arrests of former and current state officials - this time a former high-ranking police official Zoran Lazović, former Special Prosecutor General (GST) Milivoj Katnić and the director of the Agency for the Prevention of Corruption (ASK) Jelena Perović.

Lazović and Katnić, who were deprived of their freedom on Sunday, are charged by the SDT with creating a criminal organization and abuse of official position, that is, with participating in a criminal organization. Perović, who was handcuffed on Wednesday, is suspected of abuse of official position.

Although the DPS last year and the year before last, after the arrest of officials from the time of their three-decade rule, mostly avoided directly criticizing the SDT, saying that it was "revenge" of the new authorities, "persecution of dissidents", etc., now for the first time criticism is dominant directed to the Special Prosecutor's Office and the head of that institution Vladimir Novović.

After the arrest of Lazović and Katnić, they announced that this action by the SDT represented "a continuation of revenge that has been going on since August 30, 2020", when they lost power. They claim that the goal is to criminalize their rule at all costs, "with the ambition to overturn, in addition to political damage, the indictment in the 'coup d'état' case", in which the leaders of the former Democratic Front (DF) Andrija Mandić i Milan Knežević is on trial for attempted terrorism on Election Day 2016. They were sentenced to five years in prison each in the first-instance proceedings, but the verdict was overturned. Mandić and Knežević claim that the procedure is politically motivated.

After the arrest, Perović, DPS spokesman Milos Nikolic he called Novović a "Sky prosecutor", alluding to correspondence from the "Sky application", accusing him of being persecuted "according to the dictates of 'Vijesti' and the 30th of August majority". He also stated yesterday that Novović prosecuted the director of ASK "because of his wife's personal animosity". The SDT stated on Wednesday that Novović did not act and will not act in the case of Perović, but that at his request the case was taken over by the Supreme State Prosecutor Milorad Marković.

President of the Board of Directors of the NGO Institute of Alternatives Stevo Muk, told "Vijesti" that the messages of the strongest opposition party are a trend of its negative attitude towards the work of SDT. According to him, this relationship represents the continuation of earlier obstructions to the reform of prosecutorial laws, the formation of the Prosecutorial Council and the election of the head of the SDT and the Supreme State Prosecutor's Office.

"DPS feels a strong connection with the former top officials of the prosecution and KAS, whose appointment he decisively influenced during his reign and whose work he presented as the achievements of his policy. It is possible that there is also a fear of the further course of investigations, the direction in which they could move. "Practice shows that the higher the persons dealt with by the SDT are at the higher levels of the hierarchy of formal or real power of the DPS, the more nervous and inappropriate the reactions are," he assesses.

"The higher the level of people SDT deals with, the more nervous the reactions are": Muk
"The higher the level of people SDT deals with, the more nervous the reactions are": Mukphoto: Luka Zeković

Civic activist Stefan Djukic, says that the reaction of the DPS is "a big surprise", bearing in mind that the party "swimmed very wisely until now" when people close to them, such as the former president of the Supreme Court, were prosecuted Vesne Medenica and the former chief of police Veselin Veljović. At that time, according to the interlocutor, their messages were about respecting the presumption of innocence, enabling the right to a fair trial, allowing institutions to do their job, etc.

"Now, all of a sudden, the reactions are not like that, but there is nervousness... Now we are talking about people who are very close to the top of the former regime, and this leads to unrest among them, maybe even fear. If it is not that, if it is simple dissatisfaction that the series of arrests of their 'old' officials does not end, then it is bad manners that prevents them from doing what they want - to show that they are a reformed party and that they do not have the ballast of the past. With this kind of reaction, everyone will say - what is the difference between you and (the former president of DPS) Milo Đukanović, (former deputy president of DPS) Duško Marković or (former deputy of DPS) Petar Ivanovic", Đukić told "Vijesta".

Civic activist Dina Bajramspahić, she assessed that the comments of the DPS after the latest arrests are absolutely inappropriate, and that they belong to the illegal pressure on the work of the prosecution, "because it is about ad hominem attacks".

"In addition, they are meaningless and counterproductive, because the DPS, from the status of the opposition, no longer has the influence or strength to stop or shake the work of the Special Prosecutor's Office", she told "Vijesti", adding that the reactions of the ruling parties, which announce and celebrate the arrests, are also inappropriate. before it happens, thus politicizing the activities of the institutions and harming trust in their work.

Bajramspahićphoto: Arhiva Vijesti

SDT suspects Lazović of having approved the opening of the Montenegrin border for mercenaries from the Kavački clan to enter the country Veljko Belivuk i Marko Miljkovic, and saved a member of that criminal organization Duško Roganovića serious accusations. Katnić allegedly helped him in this.

When it comes to Perović, she is suspected of obtaining financial benefits for herself and others in the total amount of over 60.000 euros.

Judging by their statements, the DPS defended the arrested. Thus, in the case of Lazović and Katnić, they stated that the two of them "for decades did the most responsible prosecutorial and police work in the interest of the citizens of Montenegro", while speaking of Perović they said that "Vijesti" tried to damage "her public reputation and integrity". .

DPS did not answer to "Vijesta" why they defend the arrested, why they have now come down most harshly on SDT and Novović, why they are only now calling him the "sky prosecutor" and not after the arrest of numerous other officials, and why they did not describe him that way after he was deprived of his liberty functionary of the former DF Milo Božović.

Stefan Đukić says that DPS will only harm itself with its messages. He states that the party cannot increase its coalition capacity by judging that Novović is a "sky prosecutor", but will only face accusations that the situation in it is unchanged.

"If they don't want to return to power, they will close ranks like this, they will maintain support that will be crowned more slowly, but their coalition capacity will be equal to zero...", states the interlocutor.

Djukicphoto: TV Vijesti

Stevo Muk says that it should be fair to say that almost all parties express full confidence in the work of the prosecution regarding their political opponents, and openly doubt the work of that institution when it comes to their members or close people.

"Just as we are witnessing discrediting attempts, we are also witnessing the reckless race of government politicians to appropriate the results of SDT's work. I hope that awareness will mature in society and on the political scene about the need to make a clear distinction between reasoned criticism of the work of the prosecution, which is necessary in a democratic society, and attempts at discrediting, such as we are witnessing these days", underlines the interlocutor.

The higher court in Podgorica ordered Lazović and Katnić to be detained for thirty days, while Perović was detained for 72 hours yesterday.

The DPS requests a control hearing of Bečić, Marković and Novović

The Parliamentary Club of DPS announced yesterday that it will request a control hearing of Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Democrats Aleksa Bečić, Supreme Prosecutor Marković and Novović "due to the circumstances that followed the SDT action" in which Perović was arrested.

The DPS said that Bečić welcomed the arrest of Perović, which was not confirmed, "by which he exerted inappropriate political pressure on the judicial authorities."

"The practice of government representatives targeting people who should be deprived of their freedom and suggesting this to the competent authorities... raises the suspicion that the judicial authorities are working under the pressure of media and political influences," the announcement states.

They say that anyone who has violated the law should be held accountable, but that the "obvious agenda by which the judicial authorities are guided when choosing priority cases" should not be ignored.

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