A lawyer for the primary defendant in the case of a marijuana farm is calling for police protection of himself and his family claiming that he has been threatened after N1 reporter Jelena Zoric accused him of threatening her, Belgrade daily Danas said.
Lawyer Svetislav Bojic was reported to the police by N1 lawyers after passing on veiled threats to Zoric from his client Predrag Koluvija in front of the courthouse in December.
Bojic filed a request with the Internal Affairs Ministry (MUP) and the Security Information Agency (BIA) for a security risk assessment claiming to be exposed to open threats and calls for his lynching after Zoric accused him of the threats.
Bojic also called the watchdog Regulatory Body for Electronic Meda (REM) to issue a temporary 30 day ban on N1 TV “over the unprecedented media witch hunt against me and the mindless media tsunami which violates the assumption of my innocence every day”, Danas said.
“It’s tru that I asked system institutions for an assessment of my safety and that of my family considering the fact that I underwent open threats in public and calls for my lynching. Unfortunately and with regret, I am telling you that those threats were made against me in the most primitive way possible and mostly from your prominent fellow journalists who are openly showing their intent and desire to spill a lawyer’s blood and the blood of my underage children. Thanks to your colleagues on N1 TV and their bloodthirsty guests who they invite onto news shows creating an atmosphere of lynch and hatres in the most brutal way possible showing their overt intention to inflict pain and suffering primarily on my underaged children. I expect an adequate response by state bodies who ca sanction everry evil threatening me and my family,” Bojic wrote in a reply.
He added: “along with all that, as a Christian, believer and Orthodox, I also asked the system institutions to immediatelly make a risk assessment for your colleague Jelena Zoric along with the assessment for myself by experts in the security structures to provide protection for all her rights and liberties and allow her to live freely and do her job without obstruction in the public interest, in her interest and in the interest of her employer and since I believe that the publishing of the lies that journalist Jelena Zoric is in danger from myself, which is pure lie and manipulation, this has opened the door for many other anonymous people to use this situation to make threats against her, that is that there is a risk of her being in danger from third parties which can be attributed to me and which I pointed out in my statement to the Second Basic Prosecution in Belgrade”.
Bojic said that his request to the Director of Police, Internal Affairs Minister and BIA Director including a request to inform the public about the assessment and possible protection measures in order to ease public anxiety and create a feeling of security by showing the public clearly that system institutions exist which act to protect individual interests and that the institutions are places in which the facts are determined, sentences passed and punishment handed out and not in media or other public space and remove the pressure on the judiciary to allow unobstructed criminal proceedings by the prosecution and courts and the defense as well as all interested parties.
“Because of the unprecedented media witch hunt against me and the mindless tsunami which violates the presumption of my innocence daily, violating the law on public information and the media, my lawyer Slavka Kojic of Temerin is demanding adequate protection from the REM, in line with the law and has proposed a temporary ban of 30 days on the media services provider ADRIA NEWS d.o.o. Belgrade, N1 TV and the N1 electronic issue,” Bojic said.
“Finally, I explicitly, decisively, unconditionally and unequivocally …. state that I NEVER threatened journalist Jelena Zoric nor did I pass on threatening messages from anyone including Predrag Koluvija and that she fabricated everything for her personal promotion and to draw attention to herself for reasons known to herself,” Bojic said.
A number of reactions came from Bojic after Zoric, who has been covering the Jovanjica marijuana farm trial, reported Bojic to the Bar Association, saying that the lawyer who is defending farm owner Predrag Koluvija passed on “greetings” from his client making her feel unsafe.
The first was when he filed criminal charges against Zoric claiming that her claims were false. Just a few days later, he filed disciplinary charges against deputy Republic Public Prosecutor Goran Ilic and Deputy Prosecutor at the Second Basic Public Prosecution who commented the case in an appearance on an N1 talk show.
In his reply to Danas, Bojic repeated several times that “appropriate” charges would be filed against everyone who violates the presumption of his innocence, adding that he filed charges with the Belgrade Higher Public Prosecution High Tech Crime Department “against several persons including some journalists over the public threats and calls for the lynching of myself and my family”.
Lawyer Vladimir Beljanski, President of the Vojvodina Bar Association, said that Bojic’s “legal steps” are an attempt to disguise the initial case – the alleged threats he made against Zoric.
Zoric filed charges against Bojic and that is what started it all and this would not have happened if those charges were not filed, that is their conversation which she saw as a threat and filed criminal and disciplinary charges against him. This is a case which the prosecution and disciplinary prosecutor of the Belgrade Bar Association should deal with and everything else is a foggy mess that should cover up the basic issue. I have no direct knowledge of the charges which were filed nor have I spoken to any of them to be able to say what happened but that is my impression from what is known in public. I think that everything that happened afterwards is secondary and are not serious charges which should be considered but should be seen as part of what the case initiated and those are the charges filed by Jelena Zoric,” Beljanski told Danas.
Bojic wrote that he is also demanding a risk assessment of Zoric’s safety.
“The MUP is already making a risk assessment for Zoric at N1’s request. That happened after the message that lawyer Bojic passed on from defendant Koluvija and which were recognized as a clear threat and the messages left outside Zoric’s home which was in response to her fight to protect her safety and integrity,” said Veran Matic, chairman of the Commission to Investigate the Murders of Journalists who Bojic named as “an accomplice in the crime of false reporting” because Zoric reported the threats under his influence.
Matic said that Bojic wanted to render meaningless the legal proceedings “that Jelena and her news desk followed” and “make the threats meaningless”.
“Bojic did not explain that danger to himself and his family in any way but that is up to the police to assess. In any case, we can’t allow a revival of any of the threats against Journalist Jelena Zoric and lawyers certainly have to be safe and protected,” Matic said and added that he hopes that the MUP will complete a detailed risk assessment and that the prosecution will react in an appropriate time to all the evidence collected so far,” he said.