The Slovenia Times

Former PM Rop acquitted of charges of intelligence disclosure


Judge Ana Testen of the Ljubljana Local Court said that Rop was to be believed that he had obtained the information from a third person.

Rop had been accused of having told a Slovenian reporter in 2007 that in the run-up to the 2004 elections in Slovenia, the Slovenian opposition leader Janez Janša and Croatian PM Ivo Sanader were plotting incidents in the disputed bay.

Rop told reporter Vladimir Vodušek that Janša and Sanader's phone conversations had been intercepted by the Slovenian intelligence agency SOVA.

Vodušek ran Rop's statement on the main news show of public broadcaster TV Slovenija even it it was made off the record.

When speaking to the reporter, Rop was a deputy, whereas at the time of the border incidents in 2004 he was prime minister, heading the last Liberal Democrats' (LDS) government.

In 2013, Rop was found guilty of disclosing intelligence and fined EUR 10,000, but last year the Supreme Court ordered a retrial, which ended today.

In announcing the ruling, judge Testen said that Rop was to be believed that he had received the information from reporter Rok Praprotnik, who had obtained it from an unknown person, which cannot constitute a direct disclosure of classified intelligence.

The judge also criticised the prosecution for not labelling the charges classified. "It is unusual to prosecute somebody for disclosing classified data, while the charges are not labelled as such."

She also agreed with Rop's defence that the prosecution had changed the charges to Rop's detriment in the retrial, which is not allowed by law.

The judge also argued that Rop had caused no damage to Slovenia by disclosing the information despite Croatia sending a diplomatic note saying that Rop's statement would influence bilateral relations.

The court was to hear the testimony of former SOVA director Iztok Podbregar, but he told the court that he could not disclose any information because he could face criminal prosecution otherwise.

Rop said after the ruling that despite him being cleared of the charges, today "is a sad day, because it has turned out that the entire trial was a farce and that there were no grounds for it".

"We needed ten years to prove it and I have suffered great damage in this time," he added.

The prosecution has already announced an appeal.


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