The trial of five Podgorica police inspectors for the criminal offense of extorting testimony by severe violence from Marko Boljevic during investigation of the “bombing attacks” in May 2020, started today before the Basic Court in Podgorica.
Lawyer of one defendant Marko Radović requested from the judge to exclude the public from the hearing, by declaring that “Human Rights Action violates the private life of the defendants with its media pressure.” Lawyer Radović clarified that HRA “targeted inspector Bojan Vujačić by photographing him in the course of his official duties.” Judge Mijušković Stamatović rejected this proposal pointing out that the procedural requirements for the exclusion of the public were not met, nor did the nature of the procedure itself demand it. HRA recalls that the photograph of Inspector Vujačić in the performance of his duties in a public place was taken by a citizent of Podgorica. HRA published it to influence Minister Adžić to act in accordance with the law and suspend inspectors indicted of torture.
Attorney Radović furthermore requested that the statements of the witnesses, particularly the victim Marko Boljević and his father, Goran, be excluded from the proceedings because the accused police officers were not attending their hearing. This request was not granted, because both – the injured party and his father, gave statements in front of the prosecution at a time when the identity of the defendants was unknown and was hence not possible to secure their presence.
The trial continued with the reading of the indictment and presentation of defense. All defendants pleaded not guilty, sticking to their pretrial defenses. They then stated that they were only collecting information from Marko Boljević, that he was allowed to drink water, go to the toilet and eat a sandwich at his discretion, and that in such situations it is common for a citizen to voluntarily stay in the Security Centre for up to 12 hours. They added that Boljević cooperated on that occasion and that they did not torture him physically or mentally. They further claimed that they did not see any injuries on his body. The defendants decided to use their right not to answer the questions of the victim (injured party) and his attorney.
The indictment against police inspectors Danilo Grbović, Dalibor Ljekočević, Bojan Vujačić, Ivan Peruničić and Nemanja Vujošević is based on material and personal evidence in the form of statements of six witnesses, official notes of the Police Administration, letters from the Sector for the fight against crime, findings and opinions of the medical expert and extracts from criminal records.
The trial is adjourned until 4 May at noon.
HRA is satisfied that the trial of police inspectors has finally begun, after 7 months of delay, and that it will continue on 4 May. HRA hopes the trial will proceed efficiently, in the interest of justice.