After weeks of devoting their "1 in 5 million" weekly anti-government protests to Aleksandar Obradovic, the whistleblower for the Krusik ammunition factory while he was under house arrest in his native Valjevo town in western Serbia, Belgarderes welcomed him at the rally on Saturday, N1 reported.
The crowd cheered the man many considered a hero who did not yield to pressure and refused an ‘indecent’ offer to stop talking about shady businesses in arms trade that damaged Krusik and the state-owned arms dealer Jugoimport SDPR, while the profit went to private companies, one of which Obradovic linked to the father of Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic.
„The truth cannot be hidden. The example of Krusik shows the anatomy of the regime,“ Obradovic told the crowd in Belgrade on Saturday.
He said that „a better future doesn’t come on its own; we have to fight for it.“
„I’m one of you; we’ll succeed if we believe in victory,“ Obradovic told the crowd.
A huge banner reading ‘Aleksandar Obradovic Our Hero’ was posted on a lorry which from the speakers had addressed the protesters for the last 54 Saturday’s in a row.
The traditional walk passed by the state RTS TV and continued outside the seat of Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic.
Just over a month ago, Obradovic addressed the Belgrade rally for the first time by phone from his home, telling the demonstrators that everyone could overcome their fears like he did.
He said he revealed the illegal activities at Krusik to help others rid themselves of their fear. „If I could do it, trust me, every one of you can,“ he said.
Obradovic then added he did not consider himself a hero or a measure of courage but just an ordinary man who refused to watch his company being destroyed.
He was arrested in September, held under house arrest, moved to the jail, and after media published the story which triggered a public outcry, Obradovic was again placed under house arrest.
Three months after the arrest, a court released Obradovic three days ago. However, he is accused of publicising business secrets.
Serbia’s authorities say he cannot be treated as a whistleblower under the law since he gave the documents to a foreign journalist instead to the respective institutions.
His lawyer said there was no evidence which could prove Obradovic’s guilt. The lawyer said Obradovic was the whistleblower and could even be a witness in the case he revealed.
Obradovic leaked documents showing that Stefanovic’s father was involved in deals with Krusik at privileged prices with the ammunitions he bought for export to Saudi Arabia ending up in the hands of Islamic extremists in Yemen.