A father whose push to learn the cause of his son's death has sparked months of protest and his own detention has vowed to push on with his cause after being released by police in the capital of the Serb-dominated entity of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Prosecutors in Banja Luka, the capital of Republika Srpska, said on December 26 that legal proceedings would continue against Davor Dragicevic but that there was no need to hold him in custody.
Dragicevic, 49, was detained on December 25 after failing to respond to a police summons over alleged threats he made to the Bosnian Serb interior minister.
Shortly after his release, Dragicevic led a protest march of some 1,000 people that was blocked by police from occupying the city's central square.
"They claim I threatened someone and I did not," Dragicevic said. "I will never give up!"
Dragicevic founded the Justice For David movement after the death in March of his 21-year-old son, David Dragicevic. David, a technology student, was found dead in a local creek a week after going missing. His father says he was abducted, tortured, and murdered. He has accused police of involvement.
The 21-year-old had gone out on March 18 with his friends but never returned. Six days later, his body was found.
Police say that Dragicevic had been caught up in a fight at a cafe and that they found alcohol and drugs in his system. The case was called a drowning and originally ruled a suicide.
The local coroner said Dragiceivc’s body had several bruises on it, most likely from the fight. But they also noted postmortem injuries on his hands, which may have been caused in another altercation or when he hit the bottom of the creek.
Dragicevic’s mother claims she received a text message from David on the night of his disappearance saying that “if anything happens to him, the perpetrator will be F.Ć.”
It was not immediately clear who the text was naming as the perpetrator.
Prosecutors later opened a homicide investigation following the beginning of protests.
Protests around the case have tapped into local discontent over widespread corruption and Bosnia's weak economy.
Republika Srpska Interior Minister Dragan Lukac said police would thwart any unregistered protest and that if Dragicevic “attempts to organize an unauthorized gathering, he will...have a conflict with police and be sanctioned.”