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Montenegrin court should drop drug charges against investigative journalist

Reporters Without Borders/Creative Commons

This statement was originally published on rsf.org on 18 January 2017.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the Montenegrin authorities to abandon the proceedings against Jovo Martinovic, an investigative reporter whose trial on a charge of supporting a drug trafficking ring will continue tomorrow in the capital, Podgorica.

A specialist in covering organized crime for such leading international media as The Economist, Financial Times and the CAPA press agency, Martinovic is facing a possible 10-year jail sentence. Held for 15 months, he was finally freed provisionally the day after the third hearing in trial, held on 4 January.

Martinovic was arrested on 22 October 2015 along with 17 suspected members of a drug trafficking network known as the "Pink Panthers." He has insisted on his innocence ever since his arrest, claiming that his only links with organized crime were those of a reporter.

"The main defendant in this drug trafficking trial, a former 'Pink Panthers' member, pleaded guilty on the first day and told the judge that Jovo Martinovic was innocent," said Pauline Adès-Mével, the head of RSF's European Union-Balkans desk. "We urge the court to now drop all charges against this journalist and to end the proceeding against him."

Montenegro is ranked 106th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2016 World Press Freedom Index.

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