December 26, 2018 / 3:02 PM / 3 months ago

Bosnian police release grieving father, ban new protests

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - A grieving Bosnian Serb father who was released from detention on Wednesday said he would continue to lead protests demanding the truth about the death of his son, defying a police ban.

The police in Bosnia’s autonomous Serb Republic arrested Davor Dragicevic and several other people on Tuesday, including his former wife and opposition politicians, during scuffles with police at a protest in the northwestern town of Banja Luka.

Dragicevic claims that his 21-year-old son David, who was found dead in a creek in Banja Luka in March, was captured, tortured and murdered. The prosecution completed an investigation but no one was charged.

The “Justice for David” group, organised by Dragicevic’s backers, gained supporters across ethnically-divided Bosnia, growing into a wider movement of citizens fed up with corruption and poor rule of law.

Dragicevic was detained on Tuesday after he failed to show up for questioning over threats he made to the Bosnian Serb interior minister.

Police raided his house in a search for weapons but after no evidence was found, both Dragicevic and a regional parliamentary deputy who was also detained, were released on Wednesday.

Dragicevic said that the protests would continue, even as police cleared the central town square where his backers have rallied for nine months, building an improvised memorial and renaming the space “David’s Square”.

“My David will have justice and everybody in this country will have justice,” he said.

But Serb Republic Interior Minister Dragan Lukac said that police would prevent any unregistered protest.

“If he attempts to organise an unauthorised gathering, he will ... get into the conflict with police and be sanctioned,” Lukac told a news conference.

Protests in solidarity with Dragicevic are planned later on Wednesday in several towns of Bosnia’s Bosniak-Croat Federation, including the capital Sarajevo.

Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Aleksandar Vasovic and Kirsten Donovan

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