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News 21 Nov 16

Bosnian Serb Blogger Flees After ‘Death Threats’

Prolific blogger Slobodan Vaskovic – who has crossed swords many tmes with RS leader Milorad Dodik, says he has left Bosnia for ‘safety reasons’.

Danijel Kovacevic
BIRN
Sarajevo
Slobodan Vaskovic. Photo: Mario Ilicic

Slobodan Vaskovic, one of the most influential bloggers and journalists from Bosnia’s Serb-led entity, Republika Srpska, and a prominent critic of RS President Milorad Dodik, has said he has left Bosnia because his life was in danger.

“For safety reasons, I realised that my life may be endangered, I was forced to leave Bosnia and Herzegovina. Until further notice I will not advertise,” Vaskovic wrote on his blog.

An outspoken critic of the government of Republika Srpska, it is not the first time he claims to have received death threats.

Vaskovic did not say what specific information he had received about the death threat, nor did he say where he now is.

Police in Republika Srpska had no knowledge of death threats made to Vaskovic, nor did he report such threats to the police, Dragan Lukac, the RS Interior minister, told the press on Monday.

Vaskovic “publishes a lot of articles on his blog. He has his views of the situation,” he said.

“But if he feel threatened, or members of his family feel threatened, he should officially go to the police and we will conduct an investigation and provide him protection,” Lukac added.

Recently, an SNSD member of the Bosnian parliament and former Minister of Agriculture in the RS, Miroslav Milovanovic, on November 14 openly threatened to deal with Vasković, when he met him.

“Ballet dancer, you take care of me. When I meet you, certainly I will not call you for a coffee ... scum!” he wrote.

According to one of Vaskovic's blogs, SNSD felt a “murderous intent” towards him because after the October 2 local elections he published video clips showing Dodik ordering RS ministers not to communicate with any mayors from opposition parties - and Dodik announcing the existence of a “Black book” listing the SNSD’s enemies.

After this revelation, on November 14, Bosnian Serb opposition parties said they would no longer communicate with the SNSD or with Dodik.

At a meeting of members of the opposition parties gathered in the Alliance for Changes coalition, Dodik was called a dictator who was violating the constitution and using “fascist methods” to punish the opposition.

“Hunt for Vaskovic ordered by Milorad Dodik, because without his order nothing can be done", Vaskovic wrote in his blog.

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