Lawyer says President broke law with allegations against Solak

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Lawyer Zdenko Tomanovic said on Tuesday that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic does not have the authority to access information to back up his allegations that United Group co-owner Dragan Solak is a criminal.

Vucic has voiced those allegations on several occassions and admitted on Monday that he does not have the evidence to back them up but added that prosecutors have started certain proceedings against Solak. Tomanovic, who represents Solak, said that neither he nor his client have been informed about possible proceedings.

“It seems that the court does not have that information and most probably neither does the prosecution because an official document confirming that there are no criminal proceedings against Dragan Solak in Serbia has been issued by Republic of Serbia state bodies,” Tomanovic said. He recalled that investigations are ordered by prosecutors in line with the law and that only prosecutors can inform the courts and in some cases the police or other prosecutors, the suspect and his lawyer.

“That certainly is not the state president. However, the president’s claim that a citizen of Serbia is a criminal or that he thinks that a citizen of Serbia is a criminal is direct, forbidden by law, pressure and influence on a state body. Regardless of whether the claims of opinions that a citizen of Serbia is a criminal are stated as fact or a judgement, the Constitution and laws as well as the European Convention on Human Rights bans even the president, prime minister and cabinet ministers from voicing their views in public about criminal and legal issues, proceedings, about guilt or innocence and ban the shaping of public opinion by suggesting that someone is guilty or not,” Tomanovic said.

He said that the behavior of the president of Serbia is in violation of the law and constitution as well as international legal standards and rulings by the International Court of Human Rights. “The verbal criminalization of a citizen of Serbia, discrediting of a citizen of Serbia for the sake of political election marketing in favor of a political option is not just counter to the laws of Serbia, its Constitution and international-legal standards but also to the basic principles of legal hygiene and legal culture,” Tomanovic said.