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The prosecutor has filed an indictment proposal against former director of the Government Communication Office

In 2021, the non-governmental organisation the Legal Network for the Protection of Democracy (Pravna mreža za varstvo demokracije) and the law firm Pirc Musar & Lemut, co-founded by none other than the current President of the Republic, filed a criminal complaint with the District State Prosecutor’s Office against Uroš Urbanija, the then-Director of the Government Communication Office (UKOM). The prosecutor has now filed an indictment proposal against Urbanija.

The indictment relates to the period when the Government Communication Office temporarily did not fund the Slovenian Press Agency (STA), due to some highly controversial actions of the then-Director of the Agency, Bojan Veselinović.

Namely, the Government Communication Office refused to conclude a new contract with the Slovenian Press Agency because, under Veselinović’s leadership, the Agency refused to provide the Government Communication Office with the required documentation. “The director of the Agency in question had persistently refused to hand over documents related to the taxpayers’ money that we pay them every month and thus finance the Agency,” Urbanija explained at the time. He added at the time that he did not consider it acceptable to fund an organisation that hides its financial statements.

But there is another, additional layer to the case. Veselinović also refused to follow a government decree that would have made the content produced by the Slovenian Press Agency publicly available (and free) to the entire public, on equal terms. “I also wondered what the problem was that made the former director, Bojan Veselinović, refuse to sign a contract that would have allowed the Press Agency to be normally financed. He had a problem with an article in the contract, a copy of the legal obligations that the STA has in relation to the fulfilment of the public service,” he told our media outlet at the time.

After Veselinović’s departure, when Igor Kadunc took over the reins of the Press Agency, the matter was settled within a few days.

He is facing a prison sentence

Today, the prosecution is accusing Urbanija of abuse of office. Although the details of the indictment itself are not known, the indictment, written by a politically profiled NGO and the law firm of the President of the country, accuses him of abuse of office, of overstepping the boundaries of his official rights, and of failing to perform his official duty. The Ljubljana Public Prosecutor’s Office confirmed to the Slovenian Press Agency that Urbanija was charged with “criminal abuse of official position or official rights under the first paragraph of Article 257 of the Criminal Code.”

Urbanija claims that he followed the letter of the law. “It is difficult to process someone who has acted in accordance with the contract and the law. But things are different now, during the times of the Freedom (referring to the Freedom Movement coalition), and the police are in service of political abuse and fear of Nataša Pirc Musar,” he wrote on the social network X some time ago.

In other words, Urbanija is now facing a prison sentence of up to three years for defending the taxpayers’ interest. As we reported at the time, every month, 107,000 euros poured out of taxpayers’ pockets to the Press Agency for the provision of a public service.

At the same time, the prosecutor’s office also dismissed a charge of perjury filed by Urbanija against Katarina Bervar Sternad, a representative of the Legal Network for the Protection of Democracy, and Nataša Pirc Musar, then a lawyer and now President of the State.

Janša: A new “achievement” of the rule of law

After the police visited our media outlet at the request of an investigating judge, seized the mobile phone and computer of the television show host of the “Who Is Lying to You” (“Kdo vam laže”) show, and then visited him again (by mistake?) at his home within a week, they are starting to prosecute yet another media personality just before the European elections.

“Every day, we see a new achievement of the rule of law. The indictment was written by Nataša Pirc Musar’s office. And now the naive expect an independent trial,” President of the Slovenian Democratic Party (Slovenska demokratska stranka – SDS), Janez Janša, wrote on X.

Ž. K.

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