Zijad Turković Left Without a Lawyer

Foto: CIN

Zijad Turković’s attorney Fahrija Karkin.
Photo: CIN

Fahrija Karkin, an attorney for, Zijad Turković asked a panel of judges at the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) to relieve him and his son Rusmir from the case. He asked the judges to assign his client a court-appointed attorney or let him make his own choice because he is convinced he cannot defend his client.

Karkin told the court that the trial was non-transparent and unjust. He said that it was “impossible to swim against the current“, adding that the judges were the current, while Rusmir and him were the swimmers. One reason he was convinced the case could not end in acquittal, Karkin said, went back to Turković’s first lawyer Senad Kreho. Apparently, the BiH Prosecutor’s office interrogated Kreho and the current defense team suspects that Kreho testified against his client. Eventually, the panel of judges decided there was no issue with Kreho continuing to represent Turković. After he learned that his lawyer had testified before the prosecutors, Turković withdrew his power-of-attorney from Kreho and chose Karkin instead.

Karkin is also bothered by the presence of Oleg Čavka, one of the prosecutors his client accuses of taking bribes. Turković said that Čavka took €30,000 to lower the sentence of Isljam Kalender, a defendant-turned-witness.

Karkin also complained of the supposed interrogation of a witness Sead Dumanjić by the state prosecutor’s office—which the defense was not told about—and he protested the public testimony of Kalender. Karkin said that Kalender was cross-examined on several occasions, but Turković did not get a chance to interview him, because when his turn to question him came, he was thrown out of the courtroom. Karkin said that the prosecutor’s office has brought witnesses several times that had not been announced so that the defense had no time to prepare for the cross-examination.

Karkin said that Turković was turned away from the courtroom without a warning or a decision as the law prescribes. After he laid down the reasons for not counselling Turković, Karkin left the courtroom. Turković said that he was not going to accept another lawyer who was not going to stand by him or someone the Court tried to force on him. Then he asked the Panel of Judges to return him to a cell, because he did not want to stay in the courtroom anymore.

A prosecutor Dijana Kajmaković told the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIN) that Karkin’s words fall into the category of closing arguments and she could not understand why the Panel of Judges allowed the attorney to present closing arguments in the middle of the trial. She said that some things Karkin said where not true. She said that she did not know that decision was going to be made until the next hearing. She mentioned a possibility that the panel would wait for a month, which is how long Karkin has to remain on duty and after that the court case might start from the beginning.

She said that Rusmir Karkin, who was a court-appointed lawyer, had to attend the next Thursday’s hearing, unless he failed to show for health or other reasons.

“If he does not show up, I guess the Court can fine him and inform the Bar Chamber about it,” said Kajmaković.

The BiH Prosecutor’s Office indictment reads, among other things, that Turković led a group that sold cocaine and heroin from 2005 through 2010. He is accused of five murders, three attempted murders, e Cargo Center, robbery, illegal acquisition of shares from the Socks Factory Ključ and money laundering.

The next hearing is scheduled for Oct. 18.

Published Oct. 12, 2012