Montenegro arrests two people after attacking journalist in 2018

The police stand guard in front of the High Court of Podgorica. Photo: EPA-EFE / BORIS PEJOVIC

The High Court of Montenegro on Friday ordered 30 days of detention for two members of an organized crime gang, Darko Lalovic and Branislav Karadzic, found responsible for preparing an attack on journalist Olivera Lakic in 2018.

Judge Suzana Mugosa said they were believed to have followed the journalist before she was assaulted on May 8, 2018, passing information about her movements to the so-called Kavac drug gang.

On December 15, police confirmed Lalovic to be their officer, while media said he had links to a drug gang. State Special Prosecutor Milivoje Katnic said the policeman’s dealings with drug gangs have yet to be confirmed through an investigation.

Deputy Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic called on the prosecution to investigate all attacks on journalists. “Our institutions must protect journalists and we must also investigate all previous attacks. It’s time to show results, ”Abazovic told the media.

Lakic, journalist for the Montenegrin daily Vijesti, was shot in the leg in front of her apartment building in the center of the capital, Podgorica. It was not the first time that she had been assaulted. In 2012, a man in a black tracksuit hit her, also in front of her apartment building.

The attack followed a series of threats she had received since writing a series of articles on the Tara cigarette factory and the Montenegrin Tobacco Company in 2011.

The attack was condemned by the EU delegation and the US embassy in Podgorica, the Council of Europe and the OSCE.

In its 2021 progress report, the European Commission warned that Montenegro’s progress in tackling violence against journalists and the media had been limited, calling for a full and effective judicial follow-up to attacks against journalists.

“In April 2021, the government created a new ad hoc commission to monitor violence against the media, but it has not yet fully or effectively responded to the important recommendations made by the previous commission,” the report said.

On March 30, the US State Department’s latest human rights report also indicated that unresolved attacks on journalists remained a significant problem in Montenegro.

He said more than two-thirds of the 85 recorded attacks on journalists since 2004 had either been unresolved or had not resulted in convictions.

“Harassment of journalists, including the use of physical force, was further reported during 2020. Observers also noted that most of the attacks targeted independent or pro-opposition journalists and media professionals. media, ”the report says.


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