The Appeal Chamber of Court of BiH granted the appeals of Zijad Turković, Saša Stjepanović, Milenko Lakić, Fadil Aljović and Muamer Zahitović and threw out the first-instance verdicts against them on Aug. 1. The defendants had received a total of 100 years on charges of drug trafficking, murder, extortion and money laundering.
According to the BiH court’s verdict, the new trial will take place before the Court of BiH’s Appeal Chamber.
The Court threw out the BiH Prosecutor’s Office appeal and upheal the part of the verdict which acquitted Nijaz Zuban and Hilmija Mašović of accession to robbery and extortion charges.
Last November, Turković was sentenced as the head of a criminal group from Sarajevo to 40 years in prison on charges of drug trade, preparations and attempted murder, four murders, extortion and money laundering.
The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina handed down the equivalent sentence to Lakić for five murders. Stjepanović was sentenced to 12 years for transporting drugs and the Cargo Center heist. Aljović was sentenced to five years in prison for taking part in the trade of narcotics and collaboration in murders, while Zahitović was sentenced to three years for money laundering and extortion of shares.
The panel of judges found that Turković headed the group responsible for the murders of Midhat Mekić, his pregnant girlfriend Lucia Salas Cortez, Mario Tolić and Verner Ajdari, and attempted murders of Naser Kelmendi and Anes Kurbegović. Turković’s group was also charged with drug trade and the robbery of the Sarajevo Airport’s Cargo Center worth 2.5 million KM.
Turković was acquitted of ordering the murder of Rajko Milovanović and attempted murders of Dragan Perišić and Mensur Aljičević.
The Appeal Chamber has upheld the first-instance verdict in this part and threw out the BiH Prosecutor’s Office’s appeal as unfounded.
BiH Prosecutor’s Office appealed wrong and incomplete establishment of facts and the length of sentences, while the defendants’ lawyers asked for throwing out of the verdict and retrial before the Appeals Chamber.
Turković, Stjepanović, Lakić and Aljović have been kept in jail for fear of fleeing and endangering public order and peace. They can be detained until the end of the second-instance proceedings or up to April 2015.