Journalist completes six months in detention without charge

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the Montenegrin authorities to quickly reexamine the reasons and circumstances of freelance journalist Jovo Martinovic’s prolonged detention in connection with a drug trafficking investigation without being formally charged. He completed his first six months in detention today.

A specialist in covering organized crime in the western Balkans, Martinovic works for many international media outlets including The Economist, The Financial Times, and the CAPA news agency.

Because of his contacts with mafia members, he was arrested on 22 October during a series of raids by the Montenegrin authorities on criminal organizations, in the course of which a total of 17 arrests were made.

“Martinovic’s preventive detention for the past six months is incomprehensible and disproportionate,” RSF editor-in-chief Aude Rossigneux said. “The courts must take account of his status as a journalist. The criminalization of reporters who specialize in sensitive subjects poses a real threat to the journalistic profession.”

The Montenegrin government is required to respond to the alert about the Martinovic case that RSF registered on the Council of Europe’s platform for the protection of journalism on 13 April. RSF called for his release pending trial.

Martinovic, who insists on his innocence, filed an appeal on 12 April against the prolongation of his provisional detention. A formal charge is supposed to be confirmed on 28 April.

RSF is also posting a letter by the CAPA news agency expressing deep concern about the detention of its stringer.

Montenegro is ranked 106th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index.

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Updated on 22.04.2016