CEAS announcement: SERBIAN TELEGRAPH CALLS FOR LYNCHING OF MEMBERS OF CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS

The Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies from Belgrade (CEAS) calls on the competent state authorities to react urgently and stop a new round of lynching of civil society organizations, incited this time by the Serbian Telegraph, calling us "the Serb-haters".

In a country where the government condemns alleged and real fascist outbursts on a daily basis, silence and a lack of response to this scandal would mean a support for the arbitrary persecution of citizens, which is one of the characteristics of fascism. We would like to remind that the targeted persons who work in civil society organizations respect all legal regulations of the Republic of Serbia.

CEAS also reminds that Serbia's current majority pro-European orientation and ongoing negotiations for eventual EU membership, recently declared a national interest and a strategic commitment, would not have been possible if Serbia had not dealt with a major part of Milosevic's terrible legacy and reformed since 2000, largely due to the non-partisan support of those whom the Serbian tabloid and its interlocutors claim have inflicted "evil on America, humanity and even Serbia."

The most grueling part of that struggle was carried out by civil society organizations and the Serbian political options upholding the same values. They paved the way for the Serbia of present-day in which the prime minister is gay, the president cordially meets the son of George Soros, and the institution of Commissioner for Equality is established, formally that is, since she unfortunately fails to hear Vojislav Seselj and his systemic misogyny against women working in a part of the civil sector.

CEAS wishes to remind that its director Jelena Milić was on the lynch list of “30 Serb-haters” composed by a pro-fascist Ivan Ivanović, and that she was one of the few who joined the competent prosecutor's office in pursuing this matter. Due to the similar organized calls for lynching in tabloids and on social networks that lasted for several months, director Milić also received police protection from the relevant Serbian authorities. CEAS and Milić are still leading a number of lawsuits against tabloids, convicted war criminals and individuals on trial for murder. A number of charges for death threats by well-known persons with criminal past, as well as persons unknown have not even been prosecuted, but we do not intend to make a career out of it.

CEAS is aware that the goal of tabloids, and other actors calling for the lynching of persons from civil society organizations, is systematically aimed at exhausting us and making us lose our credibility and giving up the fight for a modern, democratic and inclusive Serbia, strong enough to reject and condemn bad policies and even stronger to choose the proper values ​​of open modern societies and build upon them a common future for our children.

We wish to let them know that we will not give up until the last atom of our strength. We will continue to prosecute them ourselves, this time for slandering us as "Serb-haters". We will also consider other legal options, because we believe that this type of lynch systematically endangers our security and the ability to work legally. We will prosecute them for lying about the amount of funds we received from Soros's foundations for the democratization of Serbia during our ten years of work. It is not true that we have implemented projects worth almost 2 million dinars, as the Serbian Telegraph claims, but rather the gross amount stands at around 31 million dinars.

We will prosecute them in court, believing in the institutions of the Republic of Serbia, because we are patriots who love and respect Serbia.

Belgrade, 19 May 2020