Yesterday, the Human Rights Action (HRA) submitted a letter to the Ombudsman, Siniša Bjeković, in which it asked him to warn the Minister of the Interior, Filip Adžić, of his duty to implement the statutory obligation and suspend from duty the police inspectors accused of extorting a statement from Marko Boljević by using severe violence.
We did this after we unsuccessfully appealed to Minister Adžić and the Prime Minister in technical mandate, Dritan Abazović, to apply the Law on Internal Affairs which mandates such suspension.
It is hard to believe that the Prime Minister of a democratic country, who comes from a political party promoting civic values (URA), is defying the prohibition of torture – specifically, the international standard of human rights – which requires that any civil servant against whom proceedings were initiated for torture be immediately dismissed.
Law on Internal Affairs (art. 176 para. 3) requires the Minister to suspend any officer undergoing prosecution for any criminal offence committed at or in connection with work, and it is therefore astonishing that he is not complying with such a clear statutory obligation.
The question arises whether the Minister would also arbitrarily keep in service police officers who were accused of drug or cigarette smuggling, murder, or theft of state property, or is it that he believes that extorting testimony by the police using severe violence is the only thing that, in principle, should be encouraged and tolerated?!
We recall that, appearing on television show “Reflektor”(on TV Vijesti), on Tuesday evening, Minister Adžić said that he did not want to suspend the inspectors accused of torture because it would “jeopardise the work process”. As we were informed by citizens interested in establishing the rule of law in the country, this morning said inspectors were observed on the streets of Podgorica, asking people for their IDs.
At the beginning of this month, one of the accused inspectors, Nemanja Vujošević, who had to be suspended back in March last year, when he was accused – even appeared on television, twice, as a representative of the Police Administration. That is how it became known that the suspension never took place, despite the request for suspension that the Police Administration submitted to the Minister in July last year.
The Human Rights Action wholeheartedly stands in solidarity with Marko Boljević and his family, as well as all other victims of police torture. We believe that encouraging those accused of torture, which is what is being done today from the highest level of government in Montenegro, is not only unlawful, but also heartless from the standpoint of the victims.
We recall that none of the accused inspectors of the Montenegrin criminal police appeared at the last hearing inthe trial for torture against Boljević, with the exception ofinspector Dalibor Ljekočević, who is in custody on charges of drug trafficking and was brought by force. None of their attorneys appeared either, nor did the competent state prosecutor. The judge did not punish anyone for unjustified absence, even though it was the 4th hearing that was postponed, causing the trial not to begin for almost a yearnow.
Police inspectors Danilo Grbović, Nemanja Vujošević, Dalibor Ljekočević, Bojan Vujačić and Ivan Peruničić are accused of torturing Marko Boljević with tasers, hitting him with boxing gloves, baseball bats and hands in the upper part of his body and on the soles of his feet, by threatening to kill him and pointing a gun at his head, that they strangled him, humiliated him, wrote a farewell letter addressed to his family and by threatening to torture and murder members of his family as well as his girlfriend.