CROATIA: Attackers of Croatian journalist still not caught after more than a year

CROATIA, 15/07/2009

More than one year after the brutal assault on Dusan Miljus, an investigative reporter for the Croatian daily newspaper Jutarnji List, his attackers are yet to be arrested. The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), calls on the Croatian authorities to further ensure Miljus's protection and to bring to justice those responsible for the attack.

On 2 June 2008, two assailants wearing motorcycle helmets approached Miljus in front of his home in Zagreb, Croatia, and violently attacked him with baseball bats until he lost consciousness. The unidentified men fled when a neighbour noticed the attack and started yelling. On 9 July 2008, an unknown male telephone caller told a relative of Miljus that if the journalist did not stop talking, other members of his family might get hurt. The caller indicated that he had information about Miljus's family members. Miljus was previously threatened via a paid advertisement in the newspaper Vecernji List, when the sister of a murdered convict issued an obituary for Miljus. SEEMO issued a protest letter regarding the incident.

Miljus's writings span 20 years and cover crime in South East Europe, the mafia and Croatian underground circles. He has been previously threatened in connection with his investigative journalism.

SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic said, SEEMO would welcome a full investigation by the Croatian police in order that justice is administered. It is time for the police and Croatian authorities to step up their efforts to solve this case. Vujovic added, SEEMO welcomes the fact that Miljus receives police protection, but the failure to bring those responsible to justice will only strengthen the impression that the Croatian authorities have little interest in protecting journalists who dare to report openly. Democracy fails when journalists are forced to operate in constant fear for their lives.

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