Prosecutors question Security Minister on alleged Croatian secret service affair

NEWS 15.03.2019 11:44
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Source: N1

Bosnia’s State Prosecutor's Office questioned on Friday the country’s Security Minister about his claims that Croatia's secret service was recruiting Muslim extremists to store weapons in places of prayer in central Bosnia in order to justify an earlier claim by Croatia's President who said Bosnia was a 'terrorist hub'.

“Why did the Prosecutor’s Office not react in any earlier cases? The bottom line here is not to find out what truly happened, but to protect the friendly-family connections between certain prosecutors and actors in this whole story,” Minister Dragan Mektic said after the questioning.

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“If the Prosecutor’s Office would have wanted to, it would have opened every case. Everything I said, I am confirming again,” he added.

The Sarajevo-based Zurnal outlet published on Wednesday a report claiming Croatian intelligence officials and diplomats had tried to recruit Muslim extremists to bring weapons and explosives to Muslim places of gathering in central Bosnia.

Mektic confirmed the media report, telling N1 that he knew about the plot for “for a year or two already.”

He claimed that Croatia’s secret service then tried to manipulate a police operation that would reveal those weapons and in this way confirm a previous statement of the Croatian President that there were thousands of terrorists in Bosnia and that the country was a terrorist hub.

Croatian officials dismissed the claim.

Asked whether Bosnian security agencies prevented the plot, Mektic said that this was their job.

According to the media report, Croatia’s consul in Tuzla, Ivan Bandic, was involved in the alleged failed operation along with local journalist Mato Djakovic.

Mektic said that prosecutors asked him about the two.

Djakovic drove the vehicle with diplomatic license plates which belonged to the Croatian consulate, Mektic said.

“I said I had new information and that I saw several photos in which Mato Djakovic can be seen driving that vehicle several months ago,” he said.

Djakovic bought that vehicle from Bandic but registered it on his name only a day after the media report was published, the Minister added.

“Nobody can use a diplomatic vehicle except for the authorised diplomat. The diplomatic vehicle is in a certain way treated as the territory of that country. And if you give Mato Djakovic a diplomatic vehicle for him to drive, he can do whatever he wants in it, however he wants,” he said.

But Djakovic denied all the allegations in a statement to N1 on Thursday and announced lawsuits against Zurnal and Mektic.

“He has the right to defend himself,” Mektic said.

“The security sector doesn’t trust this Prosecutor’s Office and this Chief Prosecutor. They need to know this in the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council and take this into account,” he added.

Mektic has been complaining about the Prosecutor's Office for years. He claimed that they never finish any of the investigations they launch.