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The families of the injured miners continue their legal battle, asking for the help of the assembly and a video of the accident

The families of the eight miners who died on April 1 last year in the “Soko” brown coal mine in Sokobanja have submitted to the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia a proposal for the formation of an Inquiry Committee, in order to determine the state of mining in Serbia on the day when the accident occurred and to clarify the circumstances that led to death of the miners, said today the legal representative of the families of the injured miners, Bratislav Stojanović.

He said that a new investigation into the accident in the “Soko” mine is underway and that one of the suspects has been questioned so far, and the request is to also question the remaining 13 suspects.

“For us, it is very important that eyewitnesses, namely the miners who survived, 20 of them, testify about how the accident took place and what the condition in the mine was like before that.” “We found out that before the accident, the miners reported higher concentrations of methane in the pit to the competent managers,” Stojanović stressed.

According to him, the lawyers have information that the entire unfortunate event was recorded.

 

“We tried to get some evidence about that video. We hope that the republican assembly will help us. I hope that the situation will not be repeated if we don’t have a video mentioned by the Ministry of Mining and Energy,” said Stojanović.

He said that the families of the injured miners have the right, in the event that the Basic Prosecutor’s Office in Aleksinac rejects the criminal complaint, to file a complaint with the Higher Prosecutor’s Office again.

“We can initiate a new criminal investigation on our own, based on our criminal report, with the engagement of mining engineers from outside Serbia, because we believe that they would provide objective and impartial expert testimony,” Stojanović pointed out.

He said that the president of the parliament now has a constitutional obligation to put the proposal on the formation of the Inquiry Committee on the agenda of the next regular or extraordinary session of the parliament.

“Our goal is to establish the eventual guilt of those responsible for the accident in the Soko mine, but also to raise the level of safety of all workers to a higher level,” said Stojanović at a press conference at the House of Culture in Aleksinac.

He said that in the course of the investigation, from conversations with the miners, it was found out that coal is mined in our mines with the help of outdated methods from the end of the last century.

“Our request to the assembly for the formation of the Inquiry Committee aims to stop the use of that method in brown coal mines where the concentration of methane is high and to work with the help of modern methods that will ensure the safe work of miners,” said Stojanović.

Their goal, he added, is not to close the mine where 600 miners from Aleksinac, Sokobanja, Boljevac, Zaječar and Vranje work.

Mothers, wives and daughters of the injured miners who attended the press conference spoke with indignation about the fact that even for a year, the culprits for the death of their loved ones have not been found. They pointed out that before the accident, the miners pointed to increased concentrations of methane in the pit and went to work with fear.

“How is it that no one is to blame for the accident?” Someone has to be responsible for my child’s death. They said there was methane in the pit, but no one listened to them,” said Desanka Grujić, mother of the victim Radovan.

Dragana Jovanović, the wife of the deceased miner Bojan Stajić, said that even after a year since the accident, the investigation “stands still.”

“There are no answers for the death of our loved ones, but we are ready to go to the end.” I owe that to my son who lost his father,” said Jovanović, whose child was only one month old at the time of the accident.

Nenad Trivunac, Bratislav Živković, Branko Čokorilo, Branislav Zlatanović, Radovan Grujić, Darko Zlatković, Bojan Stajić and Petar Petrović died in the accident in the “Soko” mine. All of them were members of the so-called “Aleksina Mining Brigade”.

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