Police in Montenegro announced yesterday that they have arrested nine men suspected of involvement in the attack on an investigative journalist Olivera Lakic who was shot and wounded last May in the small Balkan country.
The nine men were arrested over the course of several operations in Montenegro and abroad, said the police chief of Podgorica, Milovan Pavicevic. The men, whose identities have not been fully revealed, “are suspected of having prepared” the attack that “seriously injured journalist Olivera Lakic”, who was shot in one leg on May 8, according to Pavicevic.
One of the suspects, only identified by the initials F.B, accompanied by some of the members of his group, followed Lakic home from her offices at the Vijesti daily newspaper.
“He waited for her to leave the vehicle and head towards the building entrance, then approached her and caused serious bodily injury to her right leg with a pistol,” Pavicevic told assembled media at a press conference.
The police seized a large quantity of weapons, explosives and hand grenades during raids on the suspects homes, Pavicevic added. Olivera Lakic, who specialises in investigating organised crime, had previously been attacked by strangers in front of her home seven years ago.
Since 2004, dozens of journalists have been victims of attacks in Montenegro. In 2004, a Dan newspaper reporter, Dusko Jovanovic, was murdered. None of these cases have ever been solved. In its latest report on Montenegro, the European Commission deplored the lack of progress “in investigating violence against journalists”.
After the attack on Olivera Lakic, Brussels had warned that Montenegro’s accession process would be “hindered” without progress on the protection of journalists and the freedom of the press. Along with the fight against corruption, the issue of organised crime is considered a priority by the European Union in its accession negotiations with Podgorica.