About 15,000 KM is the total amount from the police warrants that were handed over to the members of the group “Justice for David” in just two days on May of 12th and 13th. Today, in front of the Court in Banja Luka, they tore up the payment slips and asked for a court decision, saying that it was a matter of persecution, repression and discrimination of citizens.
After the Republic Headquarters for Crisis Situations allowed the gathering of more than three people in a public place, in compliance with the measures for protection against the Coronavirus, the members of “Justice for David” went out to Parkić in Banja Luka.
“People who have known each other for more than two years have finally decided to hang out and talk, they sat in Parkić like other citizens do. However, the police officers came with several vehicles, more than five police officers approached only a certain group of people they recognized as “Justice for David” activists, and they ordered to group to disperse because they were holding some kind of public gathering. I note for the umpteenth time that there was no public gathering. Since we care primarily about our dignity, none of us wanted to act on these shameful warnings and orders, ”says Ozren Perduv on behalf of this informal group.
Due to non-compliance, they received misdemeanor orders to pay a fine of 500 KM each. They received about 30 such orders, so the total amount reaches as much as 15,000 KM.
Heroes are among us
“Does anyone really expect us to pay those amounts?” Everything they do is exclusively in the service of persecution, repression and discrimination of citizens. This discrimination does not last for a month or a few days, it lasts for almost two years. “People who seek to reveal the full truth about the murder of David Dragicevic are the target of persecution by the Republika Srpska police,” said Perduv, who, together with other members, asked the Court today to decide on these warrants.
The members of the group will continue to file criminal charges for violating the equality of citizens, but also, lawsuits for discrimination and requests for protection of constitutionally guaranteed rights.
“They are violating basic, constitutional rights. They are also violating the equality of the citizens, it is a serious crime, prescribed by the Criminal Code, and I warn all police officers, especially those who filed those warrants, that the prescribed prison sentence for those acts is from six months to five years,” he said.
Perduv also asks who will bear the costs of all these procedures, and he is reminding of the same situations that happened last year.
“What we have now is just a replay of what happened exactly a year ago, when orders were issued for shouting ‘justice’, which allegedly upset some citizens. It all fell through in the Court. All costs of the procedure are borne by the pubic budget, by all of us. Their conscious discriminatory behavior should be paid for by all of us. Now we are again in the same situation that people are being punished for sitting on the benches provided for that. That will all fall on the Court and I ask the question again: Who will answer because the citizens will pay for all that? ” he asks.
Group member Stela Milanovic points out that she is outraged by the actions of the police.
“They approach us, but not the groups sitting on the other bench. I am outraged that I have experienced that I am not allowed to walk with my grandson and sit on the bench I want. It’s a shame for this city, “she said.
Lawyer Jovana Kisin warned in earlier statements for BIRN that the Republika Srpska`s Law on Public Assemblies clearly defines a public gathering and under what conditions it must be contain in order to be recognized as such.
According to her, the event, due to which the members of “Justice for David” received misdemeanor warrants, is not a public gathering.
“If the gathering is organized and aims to express certain social, political, economic and other demands, beliefs, interests, in that case it is necessary to report the gathering in order to ensure public order and peace. Otherwise, it is the most common spontaneous social contact of several people and such a form of behavior does not fall into the legal category nor it can be sanctioned. “Since we also see groups of other citizens standing or passing by the police officers on the video, to whom they do not even pay attention, it unequivocally confirms the constant discrimination against legitimate citizens,” she said.
“If a group of citizens does not hold banners, no longer speak to express some of their beliefs or attitudes or demands, there is absolutely no need to report because then it is not a public gathering or possible consequences that require registration”, says Kisin.
“I am sorry that the citizens persistently do not see how serious this problem is. Tomorrow, when we need the permission of the Ministry of the Interior for coffee with the company, we may even understand what problem we have been pointing out for more than a year “, she states.
We remind you that the informal group “Justice for David” has been asking the institutions for more than two years to find the killers of David Dragicevic (21) from Banja Luka. David disappeared on the night between March of 17th and 18th 2018. His death body wos found six days later. Already on March of 26th, the RS Ministry of the Interior held an emergency press conference at which the late David was accused of being a drug addict and a burglar, and his death was qualified as accidental, although numerous injuries were present on his body. It was these accusations that aroused revolt among the citizens of Banja Luka and led them to gather in the city center every day since then.
The gatherings took place on Krajina Square until December of 25th 2018. when the RS Ministry of the Interior took a large number of police officers and special forces to the streets, who clashed with bare-handed citizens. Since then, members of this group have been pressured whenever they appear in public.
Writer: Vanja Stokić- Etrafika
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