Banja Luka sues organisers of 'Justice for David' gathering

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Source: N1

The city of Banja Luka has on Thursday sued the organisers of the ‘Justice for David’ gathering for damages arguing that their December 2018 protest, during which they demanded that authorities reveal the truth behind the controversial death of a young man, prevented a planned new year’s celebration event.

Police found the lifeless body of David Dragicevic, 21, in a river near Banja Luka, the administrative centre of Bosnia's Serb-majority region of Republika Srpska (RS), in March 2018.

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A few days later, pathologist Zeljko Karan told the media that the cause of death was likely drowning and that Dragicevic had taken drugs.

The press conference sparked a series of protests, especially since another autopsy performed on David’s body showed a different time of death. The case was later reclassified into murder.

Led by David’s father, who believes police and prosecutors in the semi-autonomous entity of Republika Srpska are protecting whoever killed his son, numerous citizens have organised into the ‘Justice for David’ group and have been protesting at the central Krajina Square in Banja Luka for more than a year.

The protests culminated around the end of December 2018.

The city specifically sued Pavle Knezevic, Bojana Gajanovic and Anja Grubesic, who submitted the request for the public gathering to police, for 178,445 Bosnian Marks in damages. The cancelled celebration allegedly cost the city millions of Bosnian Marks.

“We believe that we, as young people, have inner desires to fight for the values we believe in and for justice, which is the right of every person. That is why we think that it is completely normal that, at this age, we decide to take the step and report a public gathering, especially if we are talking about the murder of a young man who lived in this city,” the organisers said.

Pavle Knezevic, who signed the request, said that he and others organised the protest as members of the youth of Banja Luka to express support for the family of David Dragicevic, which is still seeking justice.

“What is currently happening is an obvious example of the fact that nobody in our city may have a different opinion different from the city authorities,” he said.

The protest was properly reported and no incidents took place, he added.