July 30, 2018 / 1:07 PM / 4 months ago

Serbia's lawyers start protest strike after colleague shot dead

BELGRADE (Reuters) - Lawyers in Serbia started a week-long strike on Monday to protest the fatal shooting of their colleague Dragoslav Ognjanovic who helped defend late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic and represented leading underworld figures.

Ognjanovic, 57, was gunned down in front of his apartment building in the Novi Beograd neighborhood on Saturday. His 26-year-old son was wounded in the right arm.

During the strike lawyers will refuse to attend court hearings and a number of other cases, including questioning before prosecutors and plea bargains, the Lawyers’ Chamber of Serbia said in a statement.

“The Bar wants to send the message of the unity of profession and firm determination that it will not stay silent in cases like this,” it said.

As a prominent criminal lawyer, Ognjanovic served in the early 2000s in a legal team that helped to defend Milosevic at his war crimes trial before the U.N. tribunal for former Yugoslavia in The Hague.

Several prominent members of Serbian and Montenegrin organized crime networks, including another lawyer, have been killed in Belgrade in the past two years in what police describe as a turf war over the illegal drugs market.

Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg

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