The body of a student whose suspicious death a year ago has fueled angry protests across Bosnia-Herzegovina has been exhumed from a local graveyard ahead of his planned reburial in Austria.
David Dragicevic's mother and dozens of supporters attended the March 12 exhumation in Banja Luka, the capital of Bosnia's predominantly Serbian entity, Republika Srpska. His body is set to be buried in the Austrian town of Wiener Neustadt on March 15.
Dragicevic's parents decided to rebury their son's remains in Austria, where his mother lives, ahead of the anniversary of his death, complaining about the lack of progress in the investigation into the case. Suzana Radanovic and Davor Dragicevic also cited "pressure" exerted on them and their supporters by the authorities.
Davor Dragicevic, who went into hiding late last year after Bosnian Serb authorities issued a warrant for his arrest, said in a recent media interview that he did not want his son's body to remain in what he called a "criminal state."
David Dragicevic, a 21-year-old technology student, disappeared in Banja Luka on the night of March 18, 2018. His body was found on March 24 at the confluence of the Crkvena and Vrbas rivers.
Police and prosecutors have said that Dragicevic drowned after being caught up 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 killed, and accused the police of involvement.
Davor Dragicevic set up the Justice for David movement that has led regular demonstrations in Banja Luka and other Bosnian cities and towns to call for those responsible for his son's death to be brought to justice.
Police have prohibited the events from being held without special authorization and accused Dragicevic of jeopardizing public safety. He has been on the run since street protests on December 30 turned violent.
Ahead of the exhumation, Ozren Perduv, a member of Justice for David, said that the student's parents did not want their son's body to remain in "a criminal, private, mafia state" that he accused of covering up Dragicevic's "murder."
The father recently told the television channel Face, "The Justice for David group will never disappear, justice for David in that country will not come."