Serbia's whistle-blower to BIRN: I hide nothing, I want to tell the truth

Serbia's whistle-blower to BIRN: I hide nothing, I want to tell the truth

Serbia's whistle-blower to BIRN: I hide nothing, I want to tell the truth Izvor: BIRN

Aleksandar Obradovic, the whistle-blower, whose arrest and detention were kept secret for some 20 days, before the media learned about it told the Balkan Investigating Reporting Network (BIRN) on Tuesday he did not hide anything, he did not steal anything, just wanted to tell the truth about the businesses at the Krusik ammunition factory in western Serbia.

 Obradovic was the first to allege that Serbia’s Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic’s father was involved in the arms trade.

He was arrested at his workplace in the factory by the police in heavy gear, taken to the central police station and later ordered 30-day detention on suspicion of disclosing business secrets.

NIN reported he was identified only by A.O. initials and that the covert operation to identify and arrest the man followed the Arms Watch website’s report saying Stefanovic’s father Branko was involved in the purchase of munitions from Krusik which ended up in the hands of Islamic militants in Yemen.

The authorities launched the operation to find out how the compromising documents found their way to Arms Watch.

The NIN story about what had happened to Obradivic caused the public outcry, and he was released from detention and sent to the house arrest on Monday.

“I told the prosecutor everything,” he said in his first interview after being released from jail.

Obradovic confessed what he did, but did not see it as a crime.

“I did not forge anything. These are facts about Krusik businesses, and only part of them. I vouch that it’s about the state’s regular pumping out the money from this company. I was only interested in the documents about corruption.

Serbia’s Special Prosecution for High-Tech Crime said on Tuesday that the investigation and proceedings against the whistle-blower were in line with the law and added he did not abide by the law on whistle-blowers.

A statement said that the laws on protecting classified information, whistle-blowers and personal data were fully respected during the investigation against Obradovic.

It added the investigation had been focused on Obradovic since 2014 when he had been alleged to have illegally collected classified information about Krusik business operations with the intention of passing them on a foreign national for publication on the Internet.

The statement said that the proceedings would continue and that the public would be informed about the outcome.

Obradovic, whose release was demanded by dozens of Belgraders outside the Central Jail for two nights after the news on his arrest broke out, said he did not know anything about what was happening outside the prison's walls.

“In the prison, you have six TV channels, and when you watch them, you have an impression that the situation in the country is like that in Switzerland, that everything is all right, that nothing is happening in Serbia. I didn’t have a clue what the situation with me has been in the last days,” Obradovic said.

He later thanked all the journalists, especially those working with NIN, BIRN and N1 and all the people who supported him.            

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