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Bosnian Court Again Postpones Trial Over Alleged Organizers Of Violent 2018 Rally


Members of the Justice For David group in front of the Banja Luka Basic Court on February 7.

A court in Bosnia-Herzegovina has for the fourth time postponed the trial of 13 people charged for their alleged role in protests that erupted over the death of a 21-year-old Bosnian Serb student two years ago.

The February 7 decision by the court in Banja Luka -- the largest city of the Serb-dominated part of Bosnia -- was the latest chapter in the case involving David Dragicevic, whose unsolved death has angered people.

Protests around Dragicevic's killing and allegations that police have failed to investigate properly have tapped into local discontent over widespread corruption in Bosnia.

The 13 co-defendants are charged with obstructing law and order for allegedly organizing a thousands-strong rally in Banja Luka on December 30, 2018. The rally turned violent, with clashes between protesters and riot police.

Dragicevic disappeared in Banja Luka on the night of March 18, 2018. His body was found six days later in a river downstream.

Police and prosecutors have said that he drowned after being in a fight at a cafe. They also said he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

However, Dragicevic’s parents have said he was abducted, tortured, and murdered. They also accused police of involvement.

The Banja Luka court ruling on February 7 was the fourth time the trial has been delayed. The court said proceedings could not continue because some of the accused who live abroad could not be served subpoenas.

Dragicevic's father Davor, who is among the 13 accused, helped organize demonstrations in Banja Luka and other Bosnian cities and towns to protest authorities' alleged failure to solve the murder. He went into hiding late last year after an arrest warrant was issued for him.

Ozren Perduv, a member of the Justice for David movement, told RFE/RL that the accused are charged with interrupting a New Year's concert by a popular Balkan singer, but he insisted the concert never took place.

Milorad Dodik, the Serb member of Bosnia's multi-ethnic presidency, has called the protests “politically motivated” and denied any wrongdoing by police.

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