Serbia’s opposition Party of Freedom and Justice (SSP) demanded on Tuesday that the authorities present evidence based on which they started a show-down with dozens of people from NGOs and media whose bank accounts were to be checked based on the Law on Preventing Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism, the Beta news agency reported.
SSP said that the demand came from the authorities which the Freedom House report described as a hybrid regime and the Institute from Basel said was the most corrupted state in Europe.
The Party added, “the only aim of the current authorities was to criminalise all those who reported about the ever-worsening situation in Serbia to the international public and to brand them as traitors and foreign mercenaries.”
“This pressure proves again that the request by the United Opposition in Serbia to the European Commission to form experts’ groups to deal with the situation with democracy, the rule of law and media in the country is justified,” SSP said.
Earlier, Slobodan Georgijev, the Newsmax Adria Director, said Serbia was described by the international community „as a country with a high risk of money launderingand added that it was not because of the journalists but due to „many crimes that are not processed.“
The other opposition parties and movements joined in the condemnation of the Ministry move.
„It is all about political pressure… aiming to kill the last traces of critical voice,“ the Movement of Free Citizens said in a statement.
It added it was difficult to understand the Ministry’s move after it never demanded an investigation into numerous affairs involving Finance Minister Sinisa Mali, Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin, the activities of „godfathers and brothers of the top officials, as well as disputable financing of (the ruling) Serbian Progressive Party,“ led by President Aleksandar Vucic.
The opposition Democratic Party officials said the list consisted of those who investigated corruption affairs of the public figures and discovered the flagrant violation of human rights in Serbia. „This regime has for years branded those people as traitors and foreign mercenaries, and now it declares them criminals and terrorists. That must stop immediately,“ they said.
The ‘1 in 5 million Movement’ said that „it has been clear for a long time that SNS President (Vucic) keeps in his drawers the names of ‘misfits.’ And uses the -pro-regime tabloids to wage wars against imaginary enemies… That is his war..,“ the Movement said, calling on the Ministry not to take part in it and demanding the explanation on what basis the demand was made.