BIRN: Police file criminal charges against Serbia’s reporter

NEWS 19.06.2018 08:34
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Source: Medija centar Beograd

The police department in Serbia’s northern town of Pancevo said on Tuesday they suspected that a journalist who was missing for almost 40 hours had falsely reported his abduction.

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) said the police filed criminal charges against Stefan Cvetkovic who went missing late on June 13 and was found “alive and healthy” some 30-40 hours later in the broader area of his home-town Bela Crkva where he was last seen.

The police suspect Cvetkovic of committing a crime of falsely reporting his forcible abduction and detention by unknown perpetrators, though he knew it had not been the case.

Cvetkovic told BIRN he did not know anything about the criminal charges being filed against him.

Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic, accompanied by the Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic and the secret service chief Bratislav Gasic, broke the news that Cvetkovic was found unharmed at a news conference last Friday.

He said he could not go into a lot of details but said that Cvetkovic’s story sounded strange, adding the investigators were checking it as it was entirely accurate.

Stefanovic said that the whole story was a bit “wired”.

Later last Friday, a Public Prosecutor from the northern town of Vrsac said that “for now, he (Cvetkovic) is not suspected of anything, but is treated as a victim, ”adding the details would be available later but did not specify when.

In a statement Cvetkovic gave in the police station he said that “several unknown men forced him out of his car and into another vehicle and drove him to an unknown location in Bela Crkva where he was allegedly held until June 15.

Cvetkovic said he would address a news conference later on Tuesday.