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Bosnian Serb Police Detain Man Leading Protests Over Son's Death


Davor Dragicevic (left) founded the Justice For David movement after the death of his 21-year-old son in March. (file photo)

Police in the ethnic-Serb entity of Bosnia-Herzegovina have detained a man whose search for the truth about the death of his son has sparked several months of protests after he failed to respond to a summons for questioning.

Police detained Davor Dragicevic on December 25 in Banja Luka, the capital of Republika Srpska. Several other people, including Dragicevic's ex-wife were also detained.

A lawyer for the Dragicevic family said Davor Dragicevic was hurt during his detention, but police have denied that allegation.

Videos posted on social media show police officers scuffling with civilians on the central square of Banja Luka.

The European Union delegation to Bosnia issued a statement saying they were following the developments.

"Today's turn of events in Banja Luka sends a negative and alarming signal about the state of the rule of law," the EU delegation's statement said.

Bosnian Police Detain Protesters Seeking Answers Over Young Man's Death
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Dragicevic founded the Justice For David movement after the death in March of his 21-year-old son, David Dragicevic. David was found dead in a local creek a week after going missing. His father says he was abducted, tortured, and murdered.

Police say they found alcohol and drugs in his system and that he drowned.

Protests around the case have tapped into local discontent over widespread corruption and Bosnia's weak economy.

At a rally on October 5, Davor Dragicevic said "the Interior Ministry organized the murder of David Dragicevic."

"This is a criminal state, criminal police," he added.

Authorities in Sarajevo and Banja Luka have denied the allegations.

After the December 25 arrests, police cleared away a makeshift memorial for David Dragicevic where locals have been placing candles and flowers for months. Dozens of people, many in tears, looked on.

Bosnia-Herzegovina was divided into two separately governed regions -- Serbian and Muslim-Croat -- under a peace agreement that ended the 1992-95 war between the country's Serbs, Muslim Bosniaks, and Croats. Its central government is ruled jointly.

Critics say the system has entrenched in power ethnic-based political parties, which have grown corrupt. Moreover, tensions among the former war foes persist more than two decades after the conflict that killed 100,000 people.

With reporting by AP and Reuters