Defence counsel for Yugoslav-era Croatian intelligence official Josip Perkovic, who is charged with complicity in the murder of Croatian dissident Stjepan Dujrekovic outside Munich in 1983, made a closing statement before a Munich court on Monday, challenging the charges and requesting an acquittal.

"Josip Perkovic was certainly not operationally involved in the special operation against Stjepan Djurekovic and he had even less power over the deed itself. We cannot rule out the possibility that some of the information received from the SDS (State Security Service) of Croatia was used by organisers of the special operation against Djurekovic, but there are no facts to prove that members of Croatia's SDS, including Perkovic, were informed of the planned special operation against Djurekovic in advance," defence lawyer Anto Nobilo told the court.

Nobilo reiterated the claims made during the trial that the motive for the murder was not to cover up the criminal activities of Vanja Spiljak, the son of high-ranking communist politician Mika Spiljak, but Djurekovic's work for the German intelligence service BND and disclosure of military secrets relating to INA's oil reserves to which Djurekovic had access as a senior executive of that company.

"If the special operation treated Djurekovic as a BND agent and if the operation was prompted by his work as an agent, then the operation must have been organised by the counter-intelligence department rather than the department for emigrants. This means that other sections of the SDS, other than the Second Department in which Josip Perkovic worked, were involved against Djurekovic as a BND agent," Nobilo said.

The lawyer was in particular critical of the testimony of prosecution witness Vinko Sindicic. "If we analyse the reasoning of the indictment and the evidence presented by the state attorney, we can see that nearly all counts of the indictment rest on the testimony of Vinko Sindicic, a person who is being prosecuted by two prosecutors in connection with allegations made in the indictment."

"Our view is that Sindicic is an exposed false witness and that no reasonable court can base its ruling on his testimony," Nobilo said, citing several claims by Sindicic which had been refuted during the trial by court experts Nielsen and Robionek. They, according to Nobilo, challenged some of the important claims made by Sindicic, such as the one about the existence of a secret service within the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Croatia.

Nobilo expressed doubts about one of the main points of the indictment, namely the key to the garage in which Djurekovic was attacked and killed. He said that no one was waiting for Djurekovic in the garage but that he was followed, adding that the original plan was not to kill Djurekovic but to abduct him so that he could stand trial in Yugoslavia for high treason.

The trial will continue on Tuesday with the presentation of closing arguments by Perkovic's German lawyer, Richard Beyer. After that Perkovic is expected to address the court for the first time during his trial.

A verdict is due to be handed down on Wednesday.

Related stories

Spanish court releases Sindicic

Perkovic remains behind bars; Karamarko won't testify

Madrid court rejects extraditing Sindicic to Croatia

Madrid court okays Sindicic's extradition, he lodges appeal

Ex-Yugoslav secret agent Vinko Sindicic arrested in Spain

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