Dijana Hrkalović arrested, Vučić: Punishment is important; Ministry issued statement
Dijana Hrkalović, former state secretary, was arrested tonight, it was confirmed to the media.Source: B92, Tanjug
The prosecutor's office's appeal was adopted, so the High Court ordered custody today due to the danger of fleeing and influencing the accomplices, after which Hrkalović was arrested again, the prosecutor's office told Tanjug.
As B92.net has learned from eyewitnesses, she ordered food in a building on Vojvode Stepe Street, and while she was waiting for an order, police vehicles arrived and arrested her.
Citizens who were nearby whistled and shouted various slogans.
President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, also commented on this news, saying that it is only important what the punishment will be.
"I hear from you now, the prosecutor probably asked for it. It doesn't matter if she is in custody or not. I don't know how meaningful custody is after all. It's not a question of custody, but a trial and what kind of punishment you will receive. Custody is determined when there is the possibility of influencing witnesses or fleeing", Vucic said.
It should be reminded that the Court of Appeals in Belgrade revoked the decision of the Special Court earlier today, which lifted the detention of former State Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior Dijana Hrkalović on December 10, and ordered that the prosecutor's proposal for detention be reconsidered due to the danger of escape.
"Based on the appeal filed by the Prosecutor's Office for Organized Crime, the first instance court erroneously concluded that the circumstances stated by the prosecutor in the proposal are not important for extending detention, according to the legal basis related to the danger of escape," court spokeswoman Mirjana Piljic told Tanjug.
According to the appellate court, the panel of the first instance court did not assess the circumstances, as they point out, of the danger of Hrkalović fleeing at the time when the indictment was filed against her, but only assessed certain circumstances for detention at a time when there were no criminal proceedings against her.
"As it is further pointed out by the prosecutor's appeal, the first-instance court only states the circumstances exhaustively, but does not assess them in isolation and without bringing them into contact with all other circumstances," Piljić stated.
The decision of the Court of Appeals states that due to that, the decisive facts in the first-instance decision were wrongly and incompletely determined, and that the conclusion of the first-instance court that there is no reason to extend detention due to the danger of escape cannot be accepted.
The decision to lift the detention was made by the criminal extra-trial chamber of the Special Court on December 10, after the prosecution filed an indictment against her earlier that day for the criminal offense of trading in influence for extended periods and proposed that the court sentence her to five years in prison.
Hrkalovic has been in the custody of the Belgrade District Prison for less than two months since her arrest on December 15.
On that day, the prosecution asked the court to extend her detention on two new grounds - due to the danger of fleeing and influencing the accomplices, but the court did not adopt it.
Ministry of the Interior also spoke up
The Ministry of Internal Affairs also sent a press release on the occasion of the arrest of former secretary Dijana Hrkalović. We are transmitting the press release in its entirety:
"Members of the Ministry of the Interior, the Department for combating Organized Crime, arrested D. H. tonight and took her to the detention unit of the Special Department of the High Court in Belgrade. The Court of Appeals in Belgrade today, acting on the appeal of the Prosecutor's Office for organized crime, revoked the decision of the Special Department of the High Court in Belgrade on the termination of the detention of D. H. and returned the case for retrial.
A special department of the High Court in Belgrade issued a decision ordering detention, after which members of the Department for combating organized crime arrested D.H. and took her to the detention unit", the statement said.