Politics, Europe

Montenegro jails 13 anti-Nato coup plotters

Judge says coup attempt was to prevent Montenegro's membership to NATO

Talha Ozturk   | 09.05.2019
Montenegro jails 13 anti-Nato coup plotters

BELGRADE, Serbia

A court in Montenegro sentenced 13 defendants Thursday, including two opposition politicians, for a plot to overthrow the government election night in 2016.

Opposition leaders Andrija Mandic and Milan Knezevic each received five years. Russians Eduard Sismakov was sentenced to 15 years and Vladimir Popov received 12 years in prison.

Ten other Serbian and Montenegrin defendants were sentenced bringing to 69, the total number of years for all defendants.

Suzana Mugosa, the judge who announced the decision, said the coup attempt was conducted to prevent Montenegro from becoming a NATO member.

Montenegro broke from Serbia in 2007 and joined NATO in 2017 despite Russian criticisms of the move.

Moscow was accused of masterminding an attempted coup in October 2016 to scupper plans by the former Yugoslav republic to join the alliance.

During Montenegro’s general elections July 16, 2016, the defendants planned to arrest then-Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic. The group was taken into custody by police teams the night before the election.

It was reported the defendants were against Montenegro's NATO membership and planned to conduct terrorist acts Election Day and attack parliament.

Djukanovic's party won the vote and in 2017 Montenegro officially became a NATO member.

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