European Western Balkans

Serbian police arrested Boško Savković, journalist and Co-chair of the EU-Serbia Joint Consultative Committee

Boško Savković Photo: Medija Centar

BELGRADE – A Co-chair of the EU-Serbia Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) and Serbian journalist, Boško Savković, was arrested on Sunday around noon in his apartment on suspicion of carrying a banner with a doll depicting „hanged Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić“. He is suspected of calling for a violent change in the constitutional order.

According to Savković’s daughter, four men appeared at their door without any arrest warrant. Danas reported that four men did not identify themselves.

„We are deeply concerned about the recent developments in Serbia where Mr Savković, the Co-chair of the EU-Serbia Joint Consultative Committee (JCC), was detained by the Serbian authorities following peaceful protests in Belgrade“, stated the President of the European and Social Committee, Oliver Röpke and President of the External Relations Section of the European Economic and Social Committee, Dimitris Dimitriadis.

In a statement he recalled that the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia guarantees the right to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression to all citizens of Serbia.

“While the Committee does not condone any form of hate speech or speech that incites violence, the fundamental values of freedom of speech and assembly cannot and should never be compromised, even when they do not align with the government’s positions“, it is stated.

„We therefore very strongly condemn the arrest of Mr Boško Savković. We know him as a man of conviction and integrity, whose main objectives are the well-being and prosperity of his country and its citizens. We urge the Serbian authorities to properly investigate the case in view of Mr Savković’s immediate release“, the statement concluded.

Tens of thousands gathered on Saturday for the fifth anti-government protest in recent weeks in Belgrade, after two mass shootings that killed 18 people, half of them children. The “Serbia against violence” protests have evolved into some of the largest rallies since widespread demonstrations triggered the fall of strongman Slobodan Milošević more than two decades ago. The demonstrations have tapped into simmering anger at the ruling party over what protesters say is a culture of violence the government and the media fanned.

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