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Journalist receives death threats

IPI deeply concerned about recent death threats received by Serbian journalist of Belgrade weekly Vreme

(IPI/IFEX) - Vienna, 30 July 2009 - The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), is deeply concerned over the recent death threats received by Serbian journalist Milos Vasic of the Belgrade weekly Vreme.

According to information before SEEMO, Vasic, who lives and works in Belgrade, was threatened via a letter sent to the daily Glas Srpske in Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The letter, dated 28 July 2009, was written on the letterhead of the "Serbian Chetnik Movement of Republika Srpska" (Srpski Cetnicki Pokret Republike Srpske) and signed by self-proclaimed Chetnik movement leader Sinisa Vucinic in his capacity as a "Serbian Chetnik Vojvoda," and by Radovan Vujacic, "technical secretary" of the organisation. According to the letter, which bore the organisation's stamp, the headquarters of the movement is in Trebinje, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In the letter, Vucinic wrote that he "will try with all (his) capacities to help" so that Milos Vasic and Serbian politician Zarko Korac, president of the Social Democratic Union, end the same way as Zoran Djindjic, the former Serbian prime minister, who was assassinated in Belgrade in 2003. In addition, Vucinic, using coarse language, called the journalist Jelena Milanovic, who works for Glas Srpske, a "liar". Vucinic sent the letter as a "right of reply" to an article published in the daily.

Vucinic also sent a telegram to Glas Srpske on 28 July 2009, in which he asked the paper to "accept his sincere condolences upon the death of Milos Vasic, journalist for Vreme."

SEEMO urges the authorities in Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina, to start an investigation into this case and to take all necessary legal steps. In addition, SEEMO urges the authorities in Serbia to undertake all necessary measures, including 24-hour police security, to ensure the safety of the individuals who have received death threats.

Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General, said "The police and state prosecutor in Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the police in Serbia must react urgently and put a stop to these and other threats against journalists."

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