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Serbia-Montenegro 3 April 2008

New trial to be held in murder of newspaper editor Dusko Jovanovic

An appeal court in the Montenegrin capital of Podgorica yesterday ordered a new trial with different judges in the murder of Dusko Jovanovic, the owner and editor of the opposition daily Dan, who was gunned down outside his newspaper in Podgorica on 28 May 2004.

The original trial ended in December 2006 with the acquittal of the sole defendant, Damic Mandic, a former karate champion and alleged leading figure in the local crime world. He was accused of driving the car from which Jovanovic was shot but the court that tried him concluded that “the prosecution provided no evidence that Mandic was in the vehicle.”

A former member of the Montenegrin parliament, Jovanovic was often very critical of the ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, who sued him and his newspaper. Considered close to the opposition Socialist People’s Party, a former ally of the late Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, Dan had accused Djukanovic of links to Balkan cigarette trafficking.

Jovanovic’s friends and family have often accused the authorities of a cover-up and claim that the intelligence services were involved in the murder. This is categorically denied by the government.

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