A Serbian pro-democracy activist has been sentenced to 60 days in jail for organizing a protest against the Belgrade city authorities over the tearing down of houses in the central Belgrade Savamala neighborhood.
Don’t Drown Belgrade Initiative activist Radomir Lazovic was initially sentenced to pay a 100.000 Dinar fine (1 Euro – 118 Dinars) but the sentence was changed to 60 days in jail and the seizure and sale of his property.
The Initiative said in a press release that that more than 30 cases had been brought against its activists for organizing protests against the authorities, adding that this is the first time that a court ordered the seizure and sale of personal property. It added that this is “legal and material persecution of an activist”.
The court ruled that Lazovic broke the law on public gatherings. He appealed the ruling saying that the protest had been organized in line with the law. Under Serbian law, public gatherings have to be registered with the police and the organizers have to be granted permission to hold them unless they are spontaneous gatherings which do not have to stick to the time frame set out in the law.
“These sentences and trials and the procedures against the organizers of the 1 in 5 Million protests, some media and journalists show clearly that the authorities are tackling everyone who dares criticize their activities in public, draw attention to violations of the law and the consequences to the population,” the Initiative said.