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New Left Review I/150, March-April 1985

Milan Nikolić

Final Statement

The main question posed by the case of the ‘Belgrade Six’, ever since its inception on 20 April 1984, is: Why? Who needs this show trial? Now that all the evidence has been presented to the court, that question is more burning than ever. For it has become abundantly clear that: 1. The ‘Free University’ was not founded by the six defendants originally brought to trial, nor even by the three of us who are still being tried—this time for ‘hostile propaganda’. Its real founders have notified the Court of this fact, as indeed they informed the relevant authorities at the time when the Free University began its work. 2. The creation of this whole affair of the ‘enemy organization’ which ‘aimed to overthrow the existing constitutional order’ (even though the authorities know perfectly well that they were dealing only with intellectual gatherings and debates) was undertaken in order to frighten and suppress so-called ‘critical forums’—and indeed critical thought in general. 3. Not a single part of the indictment has been proven. This is true not only with respect to ‘enemy organization’—regarding which the Prosecutor was compelled to abandon the whole monstrous accusation—but also with respect to ‘enemy propaganda’: it has been proved neither that the texts confiscated in my flat were ‘untrue’ or ‘malicious’, nor that they have been ‘distributed’ or ‘given to others to read’. 4. All the facts examined in the course of this trial, as well as others not examined but nevertheless relevant to the case, have shown that this is a prosecution for délit d’opinion—which for tactical reasons has been dressed up as something else: a conspiracy.

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