Bosnian politician and businessman Fahrudin Radoncic was acquitted of obstructing justice by ordering witness-tampering in the trial of drug trafficker Naser Kelmendi in Kosovo.
The state court in Sarajevo on Wednesday acquitted the leader of the Alliance for a Better Future for Bosnia party, businessman Fahrudin Radoncic, of obstructing the work of the judiciary, along with three other defendants.
Prosecutors had alleged that Radoncic ordered pressure to be put on a witness to give false testimony in the drug-trafficking trial in Kosovo of Naser Kelmendi. Kelmendi was found guity in February 2018 and jailed for six years.
They claimed that Radoncic – via his co-defendants Bakir Dautbasic and Bilsena Sahman – gave an order to put pressure on witness Azra Saric to make her change her statement in the proceedings against Kelmendi.
They said that Dautbasic and Sahman urged Saric not to mention Radoncic in her deposition.
The fourth defendant, Zijad Hadzijahic, an employee of the US embassy in Sarajevo, was acquitted of trying to find out whether an investigation had been opened in connection with the pressure on witness Saric, and attempting to get the probe shut down.
Presiding judge Hasija Masovic said on the basis of the evidence presented during the trial, the court found no proof that there was a conspiracy to obstruct the work of judiciary or that influence was traded for reward.
“The court has not found attributes of related criminal acts either,” Masovic said.
Radoncic has repeatedly said he was the victim of a “purely political trial”.
The verdict can be appealed.
Radoncic is the former owner of Bosnia’s biggest-circulation newspaper, Dnevni Avaz. He established his own political party in 2009.
During the 1992-95 war in Bosnia, he briefly served as a spokesperson for the mainly Bosniak (Muslim) Bosnian Army.
He is responsible for several major buildings in the Bosnian capital, including the Radon Plaza hotel and the Avaz Twist Tower, thought to be the highest building in the Balkans.
Radoncic was given the post of state Minister of Security in 2014. However, after street protests across Bosnia in February 2014, which he supported, he was sacked.