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News 30 Jul 13

Murdered Montenegro Journalist’s Sister Slams Amnesty Plan

The sister of Dusko Jovanovic, a Montenegrin journalist killed in 2004, urged parliament not to support a proposed amnesty law which could cut his murderer’s jail sentence by a quarter.

Milena Milosevic
BIRN
Podgorica

Danijela Pavicevic, the sister of Jovanovic, the former editor-in-chief of the newspaper DAN who was murdered in the centre of the capital Podgorica in 2004, said on Monday that it was wrong for the parliamentary majority to have the ability to reduce punishments.

“This example also shows that this government is benign towards the cruellest murderers and criminals,” Pavicevic said in a statement.

“Instead of bringing to justice other perpetrators... ways are being sought to mitigate what are, in my opinion, already lenient sentences,” she said.

The initiative to bring in the legislation was supported by a parliamentary committee on July 18, and MPs are to vote on it by the end of the month.

The initiative, which was submitted to parliament back in September 2012, calls, among other things, for 25 per cent reductions in jail sentences for convicted criminals, such as the murderer of Jovanovic.

The government said in March that it would be a “good and fair mechanism” but also recommended that parliament narrow the scope of the amnesty.

However, in amendments adopted on July 25 government advised 20 per cent reduction in criminal sentence instead of proposed 25, but said that the amnesty should include the ones who committed aggravated murders as well.

Last week, Veselin Vuckovic, Montenegro's deputy state prosecutor, told a parliamentary committee that the case of Jovanovic’s murder could be reopened.

So far, the only conviction in the case was that of Damir Mandic, who was jailed for 18 years in 2009 as an accomplice to the killing.

Jovanovic was highly critical of the Montenegrin government, prompting some to claim that there could have been an official connection to the crime.

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