Parliament strips former minister of immunity

The Serbian parliament met on Monday in Belgrade and decided to lift Oliver Dulić's immunity from prosecution, granted to him as an MP.

Source: B92, Beta, Tanjug

Dulić - a former government minister from the ranks of the now opposition Democratic Party (DS) - said earlier in the day that he would not attend the session.

His fellow DS MPs were seen in the hall before parliament met, but walked out during the session, declaring that "the verdict" had already been reached.

150 out of the total of 151 present deputies voted in favor.

Dulić addressed journalists earlier on Monday at the parliament building to say that he had "publicly renounced his immunity and went to the police voluntarily", and that for this reason, the Serbian parliament should not have met at all on Monday.

The session represents "a waste of resources so that the regime can continue turning the process into a circus", the former minister, who is suspected of abuse of office, said.

He described the accusations against him as "political persecution that could target anyone who is today in opposition".

Dulić once again protested his own innocence and that of his associates, and added that "absolutely everything about that job was in line with the law".

The Organized Crime Prosecution suspects that Dulić abused his official position when permits were given out for placement of optical cables along Serbia's state roads.

His assistant Nebojša Janjić was released from custody after he gave his statement to the prosecution, while Putevi Srbije (Roads of Serbia) public enterprise head Zoran Drobnjak has been named as another suspect in the case.

Speaking on Monday, Dulić said that he "insisted that the regime also investigates other claims against him" that surfaced in the past months, which he said "made a thief and a criminal" out of him:

"Such media manhunt against one person, ordered by the regime, in preparation of starting a process that was investigated and closed a long time ago is something completely new in the Serbian history and represents a huge disgrace."

The former minister added that his lawyers were in contact with the prosecution and advised that he should be "notified where and when to go", instead of "being chased around town, wasting gasoline".

"I will go there and bravely, and in line with my convictions, lay out my defense in a dignified manner," said Dulić, and added that as his associates had not been placed in custody - he believed that there was no reason for his arrest:

"If they do detain me then that will be proof they are continuing with this torture."

"From this day on I will not be addressing the public on the subject of this case, the process itself is demanding this of me. I am ready for the consequences and I repeat, we have done an absolutely good job for this state, and I would do it again," concluded Dulić.

MPs today confirmed a decision to strip Dulić of his immunity reached by the Parliamentary Committee on Administrative Affairs, which acted on a request filed by the Organized Crime Prosecution.

Dulić on Saturday avoided arrest by invoking his immunity, to later the same day say that he would go to the police voluntarily, that he did not break the law, "and would not invoke his immunity (in the future)".


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