Suspended sentence for threatening a journalist and her daughter with death and rape

March 1, 2019

The Higher Court in Belgrade has convicted a 36-year-old man from the eastern Serbian town of Majdanpek, issuing a suspended prison sentence for issuing threats via social network Twitter against TV Prva journalist Tatjana Vojtehovski and her daughter.

In tweets posted in late December last year, Branko Tomić threatened to rape and impale the journalist and her daughter. He was arrested a few days later, with an indictment filed against him for endangering their personal security.

The prosecution service, according to information revealed by Cenzolovka, requested that Tomić be sentenced to eight months imprisonment, but instead – despite his admission that he issued the threats – he was sentenced only to an eight-month prison sentence suspended for three years. Following the delivery of the verdict, he was immediately released from custody.

Vojehovski, who is the author of the popular show “Život priča” [Life talks] on this TV channel that broadcasts nationally, stated that she was “more than shocked” by the verdict and concerned about her safety and that of her family. She has previously received threats, while she says that she receives insults and is addressed with profanities on Twitter on a daily basis.

“It would be an understatement to say that I’m shocked. I really don’t know what to do with this feeling that my family and I are endangered,” said Vojtehovski in response to the court’s decision.

The ruling was also criticised by international organisation Reporters Without Borders.

“@RSF_inter shocked to learn that a man who admitted sending death and rape threats to journalist Tatjana@TVojtehovski and her daughter has got a suspended sentence only. This is not a way to address serious threats to journalists,” posted Reporters Without Borders on its Twitter profile.1