The „Smuggling“ case trial begins; Prosecution witnesses also plead not guilty

Predrag Miljković
FOTO: KoSSev

The „Smuggling“ case trial began in Pristina yesterday, in which 33 people were indicted, mostly members of the Kosovo Police, who were arrested in police actions organized in May and October of last year.

The lawyer of one of the defendants, Predrag Miljkovic confirmed for KoSSev that all 33 defendants, including three prosecution witnesses, who are also accused of crimes, pleaded not guilty to the crimes they were charged with.

All three accused accomplices are police officers.

Miljkovic said that the request of the defendants’ lawyers to terminate their custody was rejected. The defendants will remain in custody until further notice, he added.

Miljkovic revealed that he expects a long trial since the trial proceedings are being conducted against 33 people, adding that it is still too early to draw conclusions about the outcome and evidence of the prosecution.

„It is still too early to assess that and we have yet to file an objection to the indictment. Some evidence has not been translated, which is a technical error of the prosecution. We were told it would be corrected quickly and that these statements would be delivered,“ he told KoSSev.

On May 18th, the Kosovo Special Prosecutor’s Office filed an indictment against 33 people, who were arrested as part of an operation conducted in May and October last year after an investigation lasting months. The defendants are charged with accepting bribes, giving bribes, abusing official duties, smuggling goods and in some cases, illegal possession of weapons. The majority of the defendants – 25 of the 38 defendants – are police officers.

Although they were initially charged with the criminal offense of „participation in an organized criminal group,“ the prosecutor dropped this offense in the latest indictment.

The criminal offense of „participation in an organized criminal group“ remained, however, in the indictment filed against five people from Leposavic, whose trial was postponed on June 9th because the defendants’ lawyers were not provided with a translation, the Betimi per Drejtesi portal reported. Three of the five defendants in this case are members of the Kosovo Police.

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