Montenegro Demands Extradition of Ex-CIA Agent Said to Be Involved in Coup Plot
SPUTNIK NEWS – August 13, 2018: In a bizarre twist concerning a convoluted year-long trial into an alleged 2016 Montenegrin coup plot, which Podgorica claims involved “Russian state agencies,” Montenegrin prosecutors have called for the arrest of a former CIA officer they say was involved.
Joseph Assad, an Egyptian-born US national and former CIA counterterrorism officer whom Podgorica has charged with involvement in the October 16, 2016, plot to take over the government, has categorically rejected all charges and called on the US government to deny Podgorica’s extradition request.
“This is a deception campaign against a loyal American who had no role in any crimes or coup in Montenegro,” Assad said in a statement issued over the weekend by his lawyer.
According to the former agent, the only “conspiracy” in the coup plot case was one by authorities against the Democratic Front, a Montenegrin opposition alliance, which Podgorica has accused of involvement in the alleged coup plot.
In a brief statement for The Guardian, Montenegrin prosecutors said Assad was being charged with “creating a criminal organization,” offering no further details. Assad worked in Montenegro as a security advisor for Aron Shaviv, a high-profile British-Israeli political consultant hired by the Democratic Front ahead of the October 2016 elections. Shaviv was said to have hired Assad, with whom he had worked before, after facing constant harassment from Montenegro’s security services during the campaign.