“It is our duty to show that we will not put up with injustice.” Protests for the release of political prisoners continue

The fourth protest for the release of all political prisoners; Photo: Gianni Bardotti

“It is our duty to be here, to show that we will not put up with injustice” and “We will be even louder until all political prisoners are released” are some of the messages activists of the Joint Action Roof over Your Head addressed the public with at Wednesday’s protest in front of the Misdemeanor Court in Belgrade.

The fourth “Protest for the Release of All Political Prisoners” was organized by the Joint Action Roof Over Your Head. The main demand of the protest is to release all political prisoners.

The protesters are demanding release of a large number of people arrested during the demonstrations in Belgrade. The protests began on July 7, immediately after Serbian president Aleksandar Vučić announced reintroduction of a lockdown and blamed the citizens for the escalation of the pandemic.

In addition to the main request, the protesters also call for an end to police repression and the removal and prosecution of the chief of police and all Internal Affairs officers who used excessive force.

In his speech at Wednesday’s protest, Saša Perić, an activist of the Roof, pointed out that the judges who convicted the protesters were not acting “in the name of the people” and that the police was subordinated to the narrow interests of the political authorities.

The policemen acted as mercenaries of the ruling clique, said Perić.

More than a hundred people detained during the demonstrations are still jailed or awaiting the completion of the court proceedings against them.

The fourth protest for the release of all political prisoners; Photo: Gianni Bardotti

As we wrote earlier, three members of the Joint Action Roof over Your Head were among those arrested.

Vladimir Mentus, Mario Marković and Igor Šljapić were arrested during the fourth and fifth days of protests in Belgrade. They were released, or released on their own recognizance, after their lawyers filed complaints, the public reacted and protests got held in front of Belgrade Central Prison July 13 and 14.

However, at the end of last week, the public was startled to find out that the Misdemeanor Court in Belgrade sentenced Vladimir and Igor again to 30 days in prison. They were convicted for the same act as the first time – for allegedly insulting a police officer.

Judge Goran Milutinović likes to side with the regime and seems to enjoy sentencing young people who stand for solidarity, lawyer Nikola Grujić stated at Wednesday’s protest.

Sociologist Jovo Bakić also criticized the mentioned judge, calling him “a scoundrel”.

Judge Goran Milutinović, who sentenced the activists, is the same person who convicted them once already in an urgent procedure. Last year, the same judge sentenced a high school student, Pavle Cvejić, to serve 30 days in prison for participating in a protest during which protesters broke into the headquarters of the public broadcaster, Radio Television of Serbia. Ten years ago he sentenced activist Ratibor Trivunac to 10 days in prison for an allegedly burning an American flag.

A.J.

Translation from Serbian: Iskra Krstić

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