David Dragičević murder mentioned in the State Department Human Rights Practices report for 2018

David Dragičević murder mentioned in the State Department Human Rights Practices report for 2018

The exhumed body of Banja Luka student David Dragičević, who was found dead in the small river in city downtown a year ago, was transported on Thursday to Austrian capital Wien, where his mother Suzana lives. The body of this student will be reburied far from the city where he was born.

It was the decision of his parents, Davor Dragičević and his ex-wife Suzana, and the body was exhumed two days ago. About a hundred citizens, members of the group “Justice for David”, were on the last farewell in the front of a Banja Luka church. His parents explained their decision with the “wish that David’s body will found peace outside of the country where the Government protect the murderers of their son”. From the very beginning, the family reiterated that David was murdered by a criminalised group of police officers who tortured him for several days, killed him and threw his body in the river. The case of David’s murder triggered the protest of citizens who gather every evening on the main Banja Luka square. In late December last year, police banned the gatherings and the result was a mass rally on the Banja Luka streets. David’s father, Davor Dragičević, avoided the arrest and since then he is in the secret location. It was assumed that the reburial in Wien would give him the chance to come to his son’s grave and light a candle.

“In December, the RS Ministry of Interior banned a group of citizens from holding peaceful protests in Banja Luka”, said the US Department of State.

The report mentioned the events of December 25, when RS authorities arrested 20 supporters of the Justice for David group, including two opposition politicians.

“Some journalists and protesters have alleged that during the arrests, police used excessive force on protesters, and have produced photographs that appear to support their claims”, the report said.

Along with the Dragičević case, as the main problems in human rights violations, the report mentioned widespread government corruption, political influence on the judiciary, attacks on journalists and restricted freedom of assembly.

The US State Department also listed the harsh prison conditions, restrictions of freedom of expression and attacks against minorities, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons.

The report also mentioned “a number of physical attacks against journalists” in 2018 and cited data by the BiH Journalists Association, which said that authorities prosecuted only about 30 percent of the reported crimes committed against journalists and investigated more than a third of all such alleged cases between 2006 and 2018.

“The trend of politicians and other leaders accusing the media of treason in response to criticism intensified”, it said, exemplifying this with the Chairman of the tripartite Presidency, Milorad Dodik, who in June “accused pro-opposition BNTV journalists Suzana Rađen Todorić and Željko Raljić of working against the RS”.

“Using the fact that they went to London to attend a media course and linking this to his earlier conspiracy theory about British spies planning a coup in the RS, Dodik asserted that the journalists received special training in the UK, adding that it was understood what purpose this “training” would serve”, it says.

As for the October 2018 General Election, the report mentions there were “credible reports of voter intimidation and vote buying in the pre-election period”.

International observers reported numerous incidents of political parties “manipulating the makeup of the polling station committees, which endangered the integrity of the election process”, it said.

The body of “The Boy from the Ghetto”, as supporters of Dragičević’s parents named David, according to one of his songs, will be far away from corruption, attacks and accusations. Hopefully, he will find peace./ibna