Dragoljub Simonović, former president of the Belgrade Municipality of Grocka (photo: Media Center Belgrade)

Politician accused of arson attack on journalist’s home pleads not guilty

October 1, 2019

Dragoljub Simonović, a former president of the Belgrade suburban municipality of Grocka and an official of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), who is accused of ordering an arson attack on the house of journalist Milan Jovanović last December last year, appeared in court after months of obstructing the trial process, stating that he absolutely doesn’t feel guilty for that crime.

The other three suspects – Vladimir Mihailović, Igor Novaković and Aleksandar Marinković – partially admitted their guilt.

Ana Matić Alimpijević, the lawyer of Milan Jovanović and his wife Jela Deljanin, said that the defendants intended to kill her clients and that she still considers that they should have been charged with attempted murder. She pointed out that the defendants’ legal team attempted in a shameful way to discredit Jovanović and Deljanin – who lost everything they had and still haven’t finished work on renovating their house – by suggesting that they profited from the burning of the house.

Simonović has in the meantime filed lawsuits for “mental anguish” caused as a result of articles published on local news portal Žig info, where Jovanović published his investigations on corruption in Grocka, suing the portal 13 times and demanding compensation totalling of 4.2 million dinars (more than €35,000).