Serbian President: Police arrest municipality chief for attack on journalist

NEWS 25.01.2019 20:36
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Source: Tanjug/Rade Prelić

The head of the Belgrade Grocka municipality Dragoljub Simonovic is behind bars under suspicion he has ordered the attack on local journalist Milan Jovanovic whose house has been set ablaze and fired upon to try to prevent him and his wife from escaping, N1 reported on Friday.

Addressing the nation on the eve of the eighth Belgrade “#1 in 5 million” anti-government rally, Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic said “the police arrested and put in custody Simonovic, the head of Grocka municipality, the chief of the local (Serbian Progressive Party, led by Vucic) SNS branch and a member of the SNS Main Board.”

He added the police investigation showed that Simonovic told a police official to order a man to set Jovanovic’s house ablaze, adding all involved, but Simonovic, admitted the crime.

The three people were arrested last December, soon after the arson.

Jovanovic, a journalist with Zig Info website, has told N1 that Simonovic was behind the attacks on him following his reporting on corruption in the municipality.

He was attacked again, soon after the arson, when unidentified men tried to break into the apartment he was forced to move to.

ZIG Info website editor Zeljko Matorcevic told the Beta news agency that Jovanovic’s location was kept secret.

“No one knew except the police and fellow journalists. Either the attackers are working with the police, or they managed to find out somehow,” Matorcevic said, adding Jovanovic told him that everyone at the website should request protection because of specific information he had.