During a session of the Republika Srpska (RS) National Assembly dedicated to security, a father accused the police of covering up the murder of his son, David Dragicevic, whose death sparked mass protests. The RS Interior Minister, however, said this was a lie.
The lifeless body of Davor Dragicevic’s 21 year-old son David was found in the Vrbas river a few days after he was reported missing in mid-March.
Police in Republika Srpska (RS), one of Bosnia's two semi-autonomous entities, said Dragicevic had drowned and that the case contained no elements of a criminal offense, but then autopsies conducted by two different teams gave opposite results regarding the time of death of the young man.
The parents claimed David was brutally murdered and the police were tampering with the evidence and protecting the perpetrators. This prompted mass protests in Banja Luka in April and citizens still keep gathering, demanding authorities reveal the true circumstances of Dragicevic’s death.
“David was kidnapped, tortured and murdered. All the pieces of evidence we gave to the RS Ministry of Interior were misused,” Davor Dragicevic said at today's session.
“I want the truth and justice, as brutal as it may be,” he said, calling upon representatives in the Assembly to declare whether they believe his son was murdered or committed suicide, and to set a deadline to the relevant Prosecutors’ Office to complete the case.
Dragicevic said his son was kidnapped from the centre of Banjaluka in front of numerous witnesses and then taken to several unknown locations where he was tortured until he died.
"His (David’s) jaw was broken, his teeth were knocked out and there is not one place on his body that has not been beaten with batons and bars,” Dragicevic said, claiming his son was drugged in order to keep him alive for as long as possible, after which he was thrown into the river.
Dragicevic named RS Minister of Interior, Dragan Lukac, and RS Police Director Darko Culum as those trying to cover it all up.
A lawmaker from an opposition party in the RS, Branislav Borenovic, said that the truth about David’s death is still unknown after 45 days, saying that an “oath of silence” is in place regarding the tragedy.
“We all have to give our support to the people who are seeking the truth and justice,” he said.
Minister Lukac, however, told the lawmakers that Davor Dragicevic is “lying”, and that he will submit criminal complaints against him.
“Who has the right to make such grave accusations without any evidence? Everything Davor Dragicevic said is a complete lie,” he said.