PODGORICA, 06.06.2023. – Today, the Supreme Court of Montenegro held a session regarding the appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal, which acquitted investigative journalist Jovo Martinvoić of charges of drug smuggling.

Martinović has been exposed to court proceedings for almost eight years, during which he spent almost a year and a half in custody, all because of accusations that he was an intermediary in drug dealing within a criminal group.

Those accusations were finally dropped in January of this year, when the Court of Appeal, after an appeal against the decision of the High Court that Martinović should be sentenced to a year in prison, changed it and acquitted the journalist.

At today’s session, which was presided over by judge Vesna Vučković, the court process was presented in detail, and the defense and the accused maintained their earlier positions that during the process it was proven that Martinović worked as a journalist, and that he had nothing to do with criminal activities.

The Prosecution appealed against the decision of the Court of Appeal stating that the factual situation was wrongly established and that during the proceedings it become clear that Martinović was guilty.

In October 2015, a joint action by the Montenegrin and Croatian police arrested 17 people, including Jovo Martinović, on suspicion of being drug dealers and members of a criminal organization, headed by Montenegrin citizen Duško Martinović, a former member of an international group of jewel thieves, known as the Pink Panther.

In January 2019, Martinović was sentenced to a year and a half in prison for allegedly participating in international drug trafficking, but the Court of Appeal overturned that decision, citing the absence of a clear connection between the defendants and the crime, and thus sent the case back for retrial.

On October 8, 2020, in a retrial, Martinović was convicted in the Podgorica High Court for mediating narcotics smuggling, and acquitted of the original charge of creating a criminal organization.

With that decision, his sentence was reduced from 18 to 12 months. In March 2021, the Court of Appeal rejected his appeal and upheld the verdict. After the request for the protection of legality, the Supreme Court returned the proceedings to the Higher Court.