PODGORICA, 15.09.2020 – With the presentation of the closing arguments, after 10 months, the repeated procedure against the journalist Jovo Martinovic is being conducted in the High Court in Podgorica.
In January last year, Martinovic was sentenced to a year and a half in prison for alleged participation in international drug trafficking, but the Court of Appeals revoked such a decision, explaining it by the lack of clear connection between the defendants and the criminal case.
In October 2015, a joint operation by Montenegrin and Croatian police arrested 17 people, including Jovo Martinovic, on suspicion of drug trafficking and criminal organization headed by Montenegrin citizen Dusko Martinovic, a former member of an international group of jewelry thieves, known as the Pink Panther.
The special prosecutor’s office for the fight against organized crime filed an indictment, among others, against Jovo Martinovic, after which the journalist spent 15 months in detention in Spuz.
Numerous international and domestic organizations have condemned the proceedings against Martinovic and demanded the release of the journalists.
Martinovic reiterated in court today that he was innocent and demanded acquittal of the criminal acts he is charged with.
“I think that my communication with the other defendants was only for my job and recording, there is no encrypted speech between me and anyone. I believe that the SDT (Special State Prosecutor’s Office) did not present anything new in the new procedure. All of these are in fact insinuations and assumptions, and no concrete evidence has been presented that accuses me, and I believe that such allegations by the SDT have shown political intolerance towards me”, Martinovic stated in the courtroom.
During the new procedure, as his defense counsel, Mitar Mugosa, said, Dusko Martinovic and Jonus Hadzibuti (convicted) were examined for the first time as witnesses, and they fully confirmed the defense of Jovo Martinovic.
“The statement of, we will say the so-called associate witness Namik Selmanovic, remains and in that direction we will again refer to the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Kornelis v. the Netherlands. It is more than obvious that Selmanovic bought his freedom by putting in an extremely unenviable position, not the head of a criminal organization, but his member”said Mugosa.
According to the defense, the associate witness repeatedly denied himself by making contradictory statements.
The goal of the defense, as he said, is not only to make an acquittal decision, in which they do not doubt, but also for the competent institutions to initiate the procedure of revoking the decision on the status of associate witnesses, in order to be criminally responsible for what he did.
On the other hand, special state prosecutor Mira Samardzic in her closing remarks today maintained the previous position of the prosecution and proposed to the court to convict the defendant.
The Trial Chamber, chaired by Vesna Pean, announced the verdict for October 8.
The procedure against Martinovic has been going on for five years: “That period of my life was destroyed, there were consequences for me and my family,” said the journalist.
SMCG, Podgorica, 15/09/2020