Montenegrin reporter investigating cigarette smuggling shot

Podgorica daily Vijesti journalist Olivera Lakic was wounded on Tuesday evening in a shooting accident.

Source: Vijesti, Tanjug

Lakic's condition is not life-threatening, her doctors have said.

The incident happened at the entrance to the apartment building where Lakic lives - the same spot where the reporter was brutally beaten six years ago.

According to Vijesti editor-in-chief Mihailo Jovovic, Lakic said she was approached by a man who shot her in the leg, and that she saw two more men "running away."

Jovovic also stressed than none of the cases involving attacks against Lakic have been solved so far.

"For how long will this be happening in our wonderful Montenegro? Many stories that she wrote, that point to criminal activity, have not been investigated at all. For how long will we fear such cowards?," Jovovic asked.

Lakic is receiving medical treatment in the Clinical Center of Montenegro. Beside a large number of her colleagues from various media outlets who gathered in front of the clinic, Supreme State Prosecutor Ivica Stankovic was also there, who said his office would coordinate with the police and "do everything" to find the attackers.

Acting Montenegrin Police Director Vesko Damjanovic condemned the attack and said he would "do everything" to find the perpetrator, adding that an investigation was under way.

"You can kill us all"

The Vijesti newspaper announced that Lakic was writing about cigarette smuggling during the past several months - a topic she had also covered in the past.

"In early 2011 she investigated whether fake cigarette brands were being manufactured, stored, and smuggled from the Tara factory in Mojkovac and its storage facility in Donja Gorica. Her articles stated that officials of the police and of the Agency for National Security were connected to this illegal business. Since February 2011, she has been the target of harassment and threats, and in March 2012, she was beaten in the same location where she has been wounded. Although Ivan Buskovic has been found guilty for assaulting Lakic, the motive of the attack and those who ordered it have never been discovered. After that, his friends and relatives were convicted for giving false evidence, because they claimed they all played football the evening the journalist was attacked. And that's all it amounted to," Vijesti said.

Chief Special Prosecutor Milivoje Katnic said in November 2015 that the evidence regarding the tobacco factory in Mojkovac had "most likely emigrated" and was "permanently lost" - but that the prosecution continued to deal with the case, while a new investigation into cigarette smuggling was launched recently.

Vijesti Director Zeljko Ivanovic's message on Wednesday was that Montenegro was "definitely a mafia state," and he described President Milo Djukanovic as "the patron of that mafia."

Thanks to Djukanovic and his policies and activities, a system of values and a society have been established where no honorable person can have their security guaranteed, Ivanovic continued.

"You can kill us all, (but) somebody will some day be held responsible for this, once Vesna Medenica is not president of the Supreme Court, Ivica Stankovic is not Supreme State Prosecutor, Enis Bakovic is not chief of police and Mevludin Nuhodzic is not police minister. Then some of all this will be uncovered," Ivanovic said.


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