Judiciary Officials Charged With Bribe Taking

Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office alleges that court officials took bribes and disclosed official secrets.

Two judiciary officials from the Municipal Court in Sarajevo and lawyer Omar Mehmedbašić were arrested in a police operation that is investigating claims of bribery.

The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) Police Bureau took into custody Ekrem Bezdrob and Pašaga Selimović yesterday. They are accused of soliciting bribes from convicts and lawyers between 2013 and Nov. 24, 2015.

They received gifts in exchange for getting the convicts postponements of their sentences or easier alternative ways to serve them, such as wearing an electronic bracelet, said the Prosecutor’s Office in Sarajevo. Bezdrob and Selimović are also suspected of not reporting people who paid for these services and of disclosing official secrets.

After taking their statements, the Prosecutor’s Office will decide if they will be kept in custody.

The Bureau also arrested a Sarajevo lawyer Omar Mehmedbašić who was released today. His defense attorney Senad Kreho said he could not reveal why Mehmedbašić was released because of the continuing investigation.

“Investigation continues, probably. But, at least he will not be taken into custody,” Kreho told CIN.

The Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office said in a press release that one of the accused decided to collaborate with law enforcement and was interviewed as a witness.

Mehmedbašić himself told CIN that he had a witness status in the case.

The Center for Investigative Reporting in Sarajevo (CIN) has already profiled Mehmedbašić as one of the most paid court-appointed lawyers. According to CIN’s investigation, Mehmedbašić earned 864,000 KM between 2006 and 2010.

Extra Profit for Court Appointed Attorneys
Court appointed defenses represent lucrative business for a small number of attorneys. Their less well paid peers and some inmates say that judges in violation of regulations may even propose attorneys for certain jobs.

High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council decided to introduce a new system for assigning court-appointed lawyers to cases.

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