Zemun Clan gangster sentenced to 20 years

BELGRADE -- The Special Court in Belgrade on Tuesday sentenced Aleksandar Simović, a member of the "Zemun Clan" crime group, to 20 years in prison.

He was found guilty on charges of ruthless murder of Zoran Vukojević in June 2006.

Simović was indicted for aggravated murder committed out of revenge and greed, as Vukojević, who was in charge of the security team protecting Zemun Clan leader Dušan Spasojević, agreed to cooperate with the Prosecutor's Office after the killing of former Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Đinđić, and was given protected witness status in the Đinđić murder trial, as well as in the Zemun Clan trial.

Simović may appeal the conviction before the Appellate Court in Belgrade.

He is already serving 40 years in the Požarevac Zabela prison for nine murders and three kidnappings he has committed as a Zemun Clan member, and for his involvement in the murder of Prime Minister Đinđić in 2003.

Vukojević's testimony has led to crimes committed by Zemun Clan members being uncovered and proved, but also provoked the clan's revenge, according to the Prosecutor's Office for Organised Crime, which raised the charges against Simović.

Aleksandar Simović has also been sentenced to two years in prison for concealing weapons in a New Belgrade flat, one of the locations where he was hiding for years while on the run.

Vukojević was given protected witness status in 2003, but later came into conflict with a police unit in charge of witness protection, after which he was no longer in the witness protection program.