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The Human Rights Action(HRA) recently published anannouncement regarding claims of torture and extortion of evidence levelled against the Montenegrin Crime Police. The reports are all connected to the case of “bombing attacks’’ on the bar “Grand” and the house of police officerDuško Golubović, with allegations that the police used torture toexort confessions and other false statements from the three persons involved in the investigation. The Police Authority denied the facts presented in our announcement. Therefore, in both the domestic and international public interest, and with the goal of protecting the credibility of our organisation and the common interest of advancing Montenegro towards the establishment of the rule of law and the protection of human rights, I hereby respond to the Police Authority’s denial.

Key sentences from the denial are highlighted and then answered.

,,It’s about synchronized design of alleged police torture in an attempt at justification of committed criminal acts’’ … ,,Competent prosecutor has assessed legal validity and quality of collected evidence and gave the order for persons to be processed for criminal acts they were charged of.’’

HRA has no knowledge that the persons who reported police torture communicated with each other at all. Jovan Grujičićhas been in detention ever since May 26th, when he was taken from the Psychiatric hospital in Dobrota, and has not had a phone on his person ever since. We do not see which possible motive for inventing torture would M.B. and Benjamin Mugoša have, who have neither been accused nor suspectedof the said criminal acts. The statement that the prosecutor gave the order for ,,persons’’ to be processed is not true, as M.B. has never been processed in this case, but treated as a witness, while the criminal charge against Benjamin Mugoša was rejected, because the court found that he had been in jail on both occasions when explosives had been planted. Grujičić is the onlyone person charged. He waschargedon the basis of his confession, which he claims was extorted by torture, and the anthropologic forensic assessment of the video recording of a person planting the explosive that could not have excluded Grujičić as that person, which by itself presents no evidence. (Information based on reasonable suspicion against Grujičićcited from the decision of the Basic Court in Podgorica by which his pre-trial detention had been prolonged on June 25th (Kv. No. 683/20)).

,,HRA announcement is based on the statements of suspects who are trying to justify execution of criminal acts of great danger to society.’’

The HRA announcement is not been based only on the three statements thatoneperson indicted, one former suspect and one so-called ‘’witness’’ gave to the record of state prosecutors on application of torture against them by crime police officers in Podgorica, but as well as on the following:

  • Photographies of injuries of M.B, which have been published in the meantime by television Vijestiand daily newspaper Dan;
  • The fact that the court experts have undertaken forensic evaluationof injuries of M.B. and Benjamin Mugoša, and reported the findings for Basic State Prosecution in Podgorica. The same expertise had to be done with regard to the third person, Jovan Grujičić, as soon as torture allegations were made to prosecutor SuzanaMilić on 4th of June;
  • The fact that even the court determined that M.B. and Jovan Grujičić gave false statements of participation of Benjamin Mugoša in planting the explosives, because he had been in jail at the timeboth explosives were planted – this fact based on international practice points to the conclusion that such statements were indeed extorted;
  • The fact that the statement of Jovan Grujičić was found by the Basic Court in Podgorica to be ,,unconvincing’’. Based on such assessment, the Court rejected the proposal of the state prosecutor to prolong detention for Zoran Mugoša (brother of Benjamin), who had also been suspected of participation in ,,bombing attacks’’ (Kv. No. 579/20);
  • The fact that the pre-trial detention of Jovan Grujičić was ordered only on the basis of his statement, which he claims was extorted, and based on ,,loose’’ finding of anthropological expertise that he cannot be excluded as a person recorded on the tape planting the explosive (see the decision of the Basic Court in Podgorica Kv.No.683/20);
  • Findings of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT)from the report on it’s visit to Montenegro in 2013 and 2017 on the use of electro-shocks in Montenegrin police, as well as on the finding from the report on the visit from 2017 that the use of torture in Montenegrin police is a ,,fact’’ and that it is ,,an accepted practice among crime inspectors’’.

,,Neither the suspects nor witnesses have stated any complaints to the work of police officers in the police or respected prosecutor’s office… It is obviously a matter of subsequent memory…’’.

We remind that all three persons have reported long lasting police torture during which they also claim to have received death threats.Nevertheless, all three have reported the torture to the Basic State Prosecutors in Podgorica on the following dates:

  • B. has reported torture andhis injuries the following day, the 26th of May at 12:55 pm, to the State Prosecutor Romina Vahović in the Basic State Prosecutor’s Office (record No. Ktn.123/20);
  • Benjamin Mugoša has reported torture and injuries to the record on 28th of May, as soon as the police, after having “processed” him, took him to the State Prosecutor Snežana Šišević (record No. Kt. 845/20);
  • Jovan Grujičić was deprived of libertyever since May 26th, when he claims the police tortured him and extorted his confession. As soon as his father, Budimir, visited him in prison, he reported torture over his son on 4th June to the State Prosecutor SuzanaMilić in the High State Prosecutor’s Office in Podgorica, and then to the Internal Control of Police Conduct on 24th of June, and Jovan himself reported torture to the Basic State Prosecutor in Podgorica during the hearing on 24th of June. He also reported it to representative of Ombudsman’s office who visited him in prison.

,,All measures and actions were taken in accordance with legal powers and standard operative procedures.’’

I find this statement to be done without proper consideration. Police top figures anywhere in the world cannotpossibly know on such a short notice whether police officials overstepped their powers, before an investigation on the matter is conducted. With this statement the Police Authoritya prioristood up in defense of state officers who had been accused of applying thegravest methods of torture, which is very disappointing. I believe this statement will be assessed by the European Commission and other international observersas a set-back to advancement of Montenegro in reaching the rule of law.



Tea Gorjanc-Prelević,

Executive Director