Anja Grubacic, one of the three persons whom the city of Banja Luka sued for damaged over a protest organised in December 2018 for David Dragicevic, a young man whose murder remains unresolved, said on Friday that she never expected that she would be treated as a "criminal" by the city.
“I never expected that a student who is fighting for the truth can be sued for nearly 180,000 Bosnian Marks, as if I was some criminal,” she said.
The city of Banja Luka has on Thursday sued the organisers of the gathering for damages arguing that their 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.
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.
“How can I explain to my mother, who is 200 kilometres away, that I am safe in Banja Luka, that I will not end up like David?,” Grubacic asked.
Banja Luka’s Mayor, Igor Radojicic, believes that the three who were sued are connected to the opposition Party for Democratic Progress (PDP).
“They were the formal organisers of the December 30, 2018, gathering. I think they have a connection with the PDP, not with the ‘Justice for David’ group,” he said.
Pavle Knezevic denied this, saying that he was never a member of that party.
“I did organise that protest of support for ‘Justice for David’. I was at the Krajina Square between 18 and 20 o’clock and during that time no incidents took place,” he argued.