In the resumption of the retrial of those accused of setting fire to the house of journalist Milan Jovanović, the victim – who witnessed the December 2018 arson attack that engulfed the house where he lived together with his wife – gave testimony that lasted for more than two hours.
Four individuals have been indicted for the crime, chief among them being a former president of the Belgrade municipality of Grocka, Dragoljub Simonović, who was once a very influential official of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party. The four were convicted and received first instance sentences totalling 12.5 years in prison.
According to Cenzolovka’s reporter, Jovanović’s appearance in the witness box to give his testimony was more reminiscent of an interrogation – as if he was the defendant and not a victim who barely survived the fire. Simonović’s lawyers received another opportunity to question Jovanović, which they chose to use to insult and belittle him.
The next hearings will be held on 26th and 28th October, while two more have also been scheduled for 14th November and 14th December. Witness testimonies will be heard from Jovanović’s wife, Jela Deljanin, but also Jelena Mihailović, the wife of second defendant Vladimir Mihailović, who did not testify in the first instance trial, which prompted the Court of Appeal to overturn the initial verdict.
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