UZUZ: Serbia’s police probably illegally charge protesters at roadblocks

NEWS 27.12.2021 17:44
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Protest, blokada, Gazela
Source: REUTERS/Marko Djurica

The Association for the Protection of Constitutionality and Legality (UZUZ) called on Monday on people who received misdemeanour charges for participating in recent roadblocks across Serbia to address a misdemeanour court, saying they did not accept responsibility in case the police officers did not identify them during the protests.

UZUZ said that „in most cases“, the police did not identify the demonstrators but brought charges based on „illegal recording“ from face-recognition cameras.

„It is up to the Interior Ministry (MUP) to submit evidence to the competent misdemeanour court, based on which they claim that a person is responsible for violating a law. Having in mind that the police did not identify the citizens at the protest, there is a great possibility that they cannot prove that a person was at the place specified in the misdemeanour charge,“ UZUZ said.

The uniformed police were not visible at the protests on two Saturdays in a row. Participants said there were plainclothes police officers, and only a handful of people were asked to provide IDs, some refusing to do that.

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UZUS added that „it may happen“ that the evidence incriminating a person „was not obtained by the law,“ so as they could not be proof of an act.

„The burden of proving the responsibility lies with MUP. Suppose it fails to prove or submit incriminating evidence. In that case, the misdemeanour court will apply the principle ‘in dubio pro reo’, meaning that in case of doubt, it should be decided in favour of the defendant,“ UZUZ said.

The Association added that „even in the event of illegal fining, „it would refund money to all those who are not able to pay from citizen’s donations.“

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