vinko sindičić.jpg
Photograph: HINA / Lana SLIVAR DOMINIĆ / mm

Vinko Sindicic, a witness in the trial of Yugoslav-era Croatian intelligence officials Zdravko Mustac and Josip Perkovic, charged with complicity in the assassination of Croatian dissident Stjepan Djurekovic in 1983, told a court in Munch that Djurekovic was killed by former Yugoslav secret service agents Luka Sekula and Branko Bijelic.

"Josip Perkovic did not choose the assassins, he chose the people who chose the assassins. The assassination itself was carried out by Branko Bijelic and Luka Sekula," said Sindicic.

When asked who the people who had chosen the assassins were, Sindicic said that those were Blagoje Zelic from Split and Salkan Merdzadic from Rijeka.

"Two more people were indirectly involved in the murder and they brought Branko Bijelic to Germany. Their names are Petar Josipovic and Marin Modric of Rijeka. There was a woman in Munich who was in charge of logistics," said Sindicic, explaining that logistics meant the transport of weapons, which was done through the Jadroagent company.

Bijelic died in unclear circumstances in 2004 while Sekula is alive and lives in Switzerland.

Asked by Judge Manfred Dauster why he withdrew his testimony in the trial of Krunoslav Prates, who was sentenced in 2008 to life imprisonment for involvement in the Djurekovic murder, in which he also incriminated Perkovic and Mustac, Sindicic said that he did so to protect himself.

"Perkovic phoned me and told me to invalidate my statement to the Munich court at the state attorney's office in Berlin. He gave me 13,000 euros to withdraw my testimony," Sindicic said, adding that Perkovic had also financed Prates' defence.

A former employee of the Yugoslav secret service, Sindicic has served a ten year prison sentence in Scotland for an attempted murder of Croat dissident Nikola Stedul. He was also charged with the murder of dissident Bruno Busic but was acquitted in 2000.

Sindicic said that he had information on the Djurekovic case because after the assassination, the Central Committee of the Yugoslav Communist Party formed a commission to establish the circumstances of the assassination, of which he was a member, and that Perkovic at the time acquainted him with the particulars of the murder.

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