Lawyer: Serbia’s whistleblower’s rights violated in proceedings

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Source: Nova S

Vladimir Gajic, a defence lawyer for Aleksandar Obradovic, the whistleblower in illegal arms deals from two years ago, said on Thursday "the proceedings against his client had been marked by the violation of his rights."

„The criminal proceedings against the whistleblower from (ammunition factory in Serbia’s western town of Valjevo) ‘Krusik’ is more or less at a halt for two years,“ Gajic told the Belgrade NIN weekly’s latest edition.

Obradovic was arrested in 2019, three days after the Arms Watch portal published an article about how private companies bought munitions from Krusik at privileged prices, naming the then Internal Affairs Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic’s father Branko as a mediator. Obradovic was charged with revealing business secrets.

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He was arrested at his workplace in the Krusik factory. The arrest was a secret for some 20 days before the media broke the news. He was then put under house arrest and later released, pending indictment.

Gajic said that whether an indictment would be brought did not depend on the Prosecutors’ Office for Hi-Tech Crime, but „it is known who will decide on that.“

Gajic, the People’s Party Legal Council head, did not say who he had in mind. Still, the entire democratic opposition in Serbia believed that President Aleksandr Vucic decided about virtually everything, including legal proceedings.

„If they bring an indictment, I guarantee it will be extremely uncomfortable for the prosecutors and their mentors. We won’t allow criminals and thieves to play with the man who discovered their crime,“ Gajic said.

Recalling that Obradovic was suspected of revealing business secrets, Gajic added: „Aleksandar and I still don’t have access to over 80 percent of the prosecutor’s documents from the investigation. I refused to sign that they were a secret. After all, there cannot be secrets for a defence lawyer in a criminal proceeding.“

He said the prosecutor in the investigation played with some evidence and expert reports by Defence Ministry and the Military Technical Institute,“ adding the case was not about secrets „but a crime to the detriment of state interests.“

„There are some contracts arms sale which show a privileged domestic trader buying weapons from ‘Krushik’ below the production cost and then sells them at several times higher price. And they’re businessmen whose businesses are secret? No, that is a crime, and that is organised crime,“ Gajic said.

He told NIN that would be proven in court, adding Obradovic would not try to defend himself but to accuse everyone who took part in the embezzlements which for he had evidence.

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