Hundreds of women file charges against opposition official

NEWS 22.04.202120:27
Marinika Tepić Dragan Marković Palma

Almost 400 women are reported to have filed charges against Serbian opposition politician Marinika Tepic following her allegations that women were forced to trade sexual favors for jobs in the town of Jagodina.

That town in central Serbia is ruled by Dragan Markovic Palma MP, who United Serbia (JS) party is part of the ruling coalition. Markovic has headed the local authorities in Jagodina since the 1990s and is known for his strong-arm approach and fierce criticism of the opposition.

A total of 393 women filed the charges with the Basic Public Prosecution, the local authorities said in a press release. Speaking after Tepic made the allegations, Markovic said that scores of women from his home town would sue her. The press release said that the women working in the town’s public sector filed the charges, accusing Tepic of inciting panic and unrest. The charges were handed in by Jagodina assistant Mayor Marija Jovanovic who is quoted as saying that Tepic “offended all the women of Jagodina in the worst possible way”.

Tepic called a news conference to show a video of a man testifying that women and young girls were being pimped out to local officials in Jagodina. Markovic denied the claims. The local prosecution launched an investigation with some legal experts calling for the case to be transferred to judiciary authorities outside Jagodina, alleging possible bias.