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Political repression of opposition leaders in Montenegro

epa05651300 A general view during the session of the Montenegro Parliament in Podgorica, Montenegro, 28 November 2016. The opposition boycotted the parliament session over alleged irregularities on election day. Markovic said that he expected to stay on Djukanovic's path towards further integration with the West, especially NATO and the European Union. EPA/BORIS PEJOVIC

Per the request of Milivoje Katnic, the Special State Prosecutor of Montenegro, the Montenegrin Parliament voted on Thursday, June 29th, to strip Mr. Nebojsa Medojevic of his parliamentary immunity. The members of the Parliament, consisting only of the leading DPS party and their minority coalition partners, voted unanimously (42:0) for a move that is increasingly being regarded as a personal vendetta and a political witch hunt against an opposing voice. The next step in this process, without any legitimate evidence presented as of yet, would be an arrest.

Mr. Nebojsa Medojevic, leader of the Movement for Change party, and a member of the Democratic Front opposition bloc, has for long been a target of politically motivated attacks and repression. His family has been subjected to searches and confiscation of their private property, emotional and physical attacks, even imprisonment. The day after the vote, the apartment he shares with his wife Marina and two children has been raided by armed police forces, who removed personal computers, telephones and other belongings. Medojevic stands accused of alleged money laundering, although no solid evidence has been given to support this claim after 7 months of investigation.

Since the vote on Thursday, as an act of protest and solidarity with a coalition partner, the entire Democratic Front leadership has remained in the Parliament building, going into a fourth day now. They promise to defend Mr. Medojevic from this, as they see it, illegal, unconstitutional and politically motivated attack, contrary to basic human rights and the rule of law. The leaders feel that the Democratic Front coalition bloc is the most persecuted and repressed opposition in Europe, especially in a country that is in full negotiations to become a member of the European Union, and is, as of June 5th 2017, a full member of NATO.

Movement for Change party (PzP) is a full member of IDU and ACRE, sharing a system of values based on equal human rights, democracy and a rule of law. IDU and ACRE have issued a statement regarding the recent developments in Montenegro, voicing their concern about the politically motivated attacks. Differing somewhat ideologically from the DF coalition partners,  Movement for Change party advocates full EU and NATO membership for Montenegro, but based on a referendum. However, DF is united around one clear idea; freedom and transparency in Montenegro, a small Balkan nation of turbulent history, that has been ruled by one man, directly or indirectly, for the past 27 years. Abuse of the justice system, law enforcement, security and all other institutions that serve as pillars of proper and democratic government, has been rampant in Montenegro. Its primary focus is elimination and silence of the political opposition, while the corrupt and criminal network intertwined with the political establishment rules the totalitarian, autocratic and dictatorial state in the heart of Europe. Such regime is a direct byproduct of the Western intervention and nation building, contrary to the freedom loving ideals of conservative and liberty oriented voices all over United States and Europe.

Since the election day on October 16th, 2016, the entire opposition has been actively boycotting the Parliament, due to the claimed interference by the State Prosecutor and the ruling DPS party, voter intimidation, fraud and allegations of the alleged coup in Montenegro. The country is experiencing a deep political crisis with no solution in sight, which given its turbulent history, can easily turn into a bloody civil war nobody bargained for, engulfing the entire, deeply divided and conflicted Balkan region. The blockade and the paralysis of the highly biased and corrupt system and its institutions in Montenegro, further testify to the fact that the nation is not capable of upholding the basic human values, democratic standards and the principles of the rule of law. In order to equalize and accept the transitioning nations, such as Montenegro, into international institutions and organizations whose memberships they seek, valid evidence of political maturity, reformation and democratic stability must be demonstrated. If this is not the case, the double standards and hypocrisy espoused by these same organisations and institutions may very well be their own internal demise.

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