News 26 Sep 17

Peace Women Sue Serbian Tabloid for Libel

The Serbian peace group Women in Black is suing pro-government tabloid newspaper Informer for calling the organisation’s activists the “biggest foreign mercenaries” in the country.

Filip Rudic
BIRN
Belgrade
Women in Black stage a protest in Belgrade. Photo: Women in Black.

The head of Women in Black, Stasa Zajovic, testified in court on Tuesday that an article published by Serbian tabloid Informer labelling Women in Black ‘foreign mercenaries’ was a “call for a lynching”.

“The goal of that newspaper is to deny freedom of speech and organise campaigns against those who think freely and advocate for the rule of law,” Zajovic told the court, Beta news agency reported.

The pro-government Informer published an article in November 2016 in which it alleged that Women in Black received close to 1.6 million euros from Western donors in order to “accuse Serbia of genocide in Srebrenica and war crimes in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo”.

Informer listed 34 payments allegedly made to Women in Black between 2014 and 2016, and singled out the European Commission and the billionaire philanthropist George Soros’ Open Society Foundation as key donors.

Zajovic said in court that the list of donors was incorrect and that the alleged sum was three times bigger than what the organisation actually received.

She added that all donors to Women in Black are publicly listed in the Serbian Business Registers Agency.

The editor and publisher of Informer, Dragan Vucicevic, did appear in court because he was attending a hearing in another case against him, his lawyer told the court.

Women in Black are not asking for compensation, only that Informer publishes the verdict.

The trial is scheduled to continue on December 25.

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