Minister "won't comment again" on plagiarism claims
BELGRADE -- Interior Minister Nebojša Stefanović has denied that he plagiarized his doctoral thesis, adding that "this was the first and last time" he spoke on the subject.
Stefanović also told the Nedeljnik magazine that the accusations were "false, and politically motivated."
"On the first day I sent out a short statement denying it. I have no need, and I have much less time, to deal with this untrue story. I did my doctoral work honestly and the commission, made up of renowned professors, had no objections. But here, for Nedeljnik, I am for the first and last time rejecting all these odious lies," he said.
Stefanović, who is a high ranking official of the ruling SNS party, added that he was leaving it to the university, the academic community and experts from the area of local self-government - the subject of his thesis - to offer their opinions.
"I will no longer make any statements on this subject," the minister reiterated.
The controversy over Stefanović's doctoral work at the private Megatrend University erupted recently when the website of Peščanik published an analysis of three Serbian scientists working abroad who accused the minister of plagiarism.
In the wake of this, the website was brought down in an apparent DDoS attack - something that the police are currently investigating.
The Parliamentary Committee on Science and Education met to discuss the developments last week and reached no conclusions - but some members were heard saying that "the attack on Stefanović was an attack on the government."
Stefanović's mentor at Megatrend was the university's Rector Mića Jovanović, whose biography states that he earned his doctorate in London in 1983. The Peščanik media outlet over the weekend published another report, this time questioned Jovanović's credentials.
The Ministry of Education announced on Thursday that "procedures have been launched to determine all the facts related to the contentious doctoral titles of Mića Jovanović."