Trial of arson attack on house of journalist Milan Jovanović commences

May 31, 2019

The trial against indictees accused of initiating, organising and participating in the firebombing of the Belgrade house of journalist Milan Jovanović has begun, five months after the journalist of local portal Žig info barely escaped the aforementioned fire alive.

The trial was interrupted immediately after the prosecutor read the indictment, due to one of the lawyers having other obligations. A former president of the Belgrade suburban municipality of Grocka, Dragoljub Simonović, was charged with ordering the arson attack, with the prosecutor seeking a sentence of eight years in prison for him. Despite such an indictment, this former local leader and very influential person in the local branch of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party was greeted by supporters both before and after the trial session.

In his news articles, Jovanović noted Simonović’s involvement in numerous scandals while he’d been the president of the municipality, and Jovanović believes that these articles were the reason that his house was set ablaze.

Jovanović and his wife recently returned to the house, due to them not having any more money to pay rent for an apartment. Their house was renovated thanks to donations collected by the Slavko Ćuruvija Foundation, but it has not yet been equipped and doesn’t have the conditions to provide for a normal life.

Following the fire, the Jovanovićs spent several days staying with neighbours, after which they rented an apartment. Just as they settled in to the Belgrade flat, on 30thDecember last year, it was broken into by unknown assailants. Jovanović’s lawyer claims not to have received official information about who broke into the journalist’s apartment and whether anyone is being prosecuted for doing so.