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Bosnia protests: Police release grieving father without charge, ban further rallies

Davor Dragicevic, David's father, lying in place where his son was killed.
Davor Dragicevic, David's father, lying in place where his son was killed.
By Emma Beswick with with Reuters
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Davor Dragicevic, who claims that his 21-year-old son David was captured, tortured and murdered, has said he will continue to lead protests demanding the truth


The father of David Dragicevic, a 21-year-old man who was found dead in a creek in northern Bosnia in March, has been released without charge after being arrested at a protest on Tuesday.

Davor Dragicevic (pictured above lying in the place where his son was killed), a Bosnian Serb, was released from detention on Wednesday and said he would continue to lead protests, defying a police ban.

The grieving father and other protesters were demanding the truth about his son's death. 

Dragicevic's arrest sparked demonstrations in Bosnia’s autonomous Serb Republic in the town of Banja Luka on Wednesday night as police were deployed in riot gear to contain protesters.

David's father claims he was captured, tortured and murdered. The prosecution completed an investigation but no one was charged.

Police in Banja Luka arrested Davor Dragicevic and several other people on Tuesday, including his former wife and opposition politicians, during scuffles with police at a protest.

Dragicevic made threats to the Bosnian Serb interior minister and was detained on after he failed to show up for questioning on the matter.

The “Justice for David” group gained supporters across ethnically-divided Bosnia, growing into a wider movement of citizens fed up with corruption and poor rule of law.

Rallies have become an outlet for anger against the government.

Dragicevic and a regional parliamentary deputy were detained but released after police found no evidence in a raid of the father's house for weapons.

The grieving father vowed protests would continue despite police clearing the town square where his supporters have staged protests for nine months.

"My David will have justice and everybody in this country will have justice," Dragicevic said.

However, Serb Republic Interior Minister Dragan Lukac said that police would prevent any unregistered protest.

"If he attempts to organise an unauthorised gathering, he will ... get into the conflict with police and be sanctioned," Lukac said at a news conference.

Protests in solidarity with Dragicevic were planned later on Wednesday in several towns of Bosnia's Bosniak-Croat Federation, including the capital Sarajevo

The European Union delegation and the office of Bosnia's international peace overseer expressed concerns about the arrests and urged all sides to refrain from violence.

"We have asked the Republika Srpska Ministry of Interior for an immediate explanation of the ongoing arrests of different persons associated with the 'Justice for David' movement," they said in a joint statement.

"We are following the developments closely in Banja Luka and urge everyone to stay calm and refrain from violence."


The association of Bosnia's journalists and the Transparency International corruption watchdog also condemned the arrest, saying they represented "political persecution" by the regime.

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