A Montenegro court has sentenced 14 people including two Russian military intelligence officers, two Montenegrin opposition leaders, nine Serbian citizens and another Montenegrin to up to 15 years in prison after they were found guilty of attempting to overthrow the Montenegrin government in 2016.
Russian military intelligence staffer Eduard Shishmakov and Vladimir Popov were sentenced to 15 and 12 years in prison in absentia.
Two Montenegrin opposition Democratic Front leaders, Andrija Mandic and Milan Knezevic, were given sentences of up to five years.
Bratislav Dikic, the former commander of an elite Serbian police unit, the Gendarmerie, was sentenced to eight years in prison. He was arrested in Montenegro in October.
Two Serbian citizens, Nemanja Ristic and Predrag Bogicevic, received sentences of eight and seven years in absentia.
Six other defendants received smaller jail term terms. The 14th indictee, Ananije Nikic, will be tried in absentia in a separate case. In 2018, he received asylum in Russia.
Mandic and Knezevic denounced the verdicts, said they would appeal and urged neighbouring Serbia to speak out.
“This is a breaking point for Montenegro,” Mandic told a press conference after. “We don’t accept arrests,” he said.