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Brief disappearance of journalist Stefan Cvetkovic must be investigated

A Kosovo Serb man walks past posters featuring Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic, in the northern part of the divided town of Mitrovica, Kosovo, 1 February 2018; journalist Stefan Cvetkovic had reported on the murder of Ivanonic
A Kosovo Serb man walks past posters featuring Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic, in the northern part of the divided town of Mitrovica, Kosovo, 1 February 2018; journalist Stefan Cvetkovic had reported on the murder of Ivanonic

ARMEND NIMANI/AFP/Getty Images

This statement was originally published on rsf.org on 16 June 2018.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for a thorough and independent investigation into the disappearance of Serbian investigative reporter Stefan Cvetkovic, who was found alive and well today after going missing near the town of Bela Crkva two nights ago.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for a thorough and independent investigation into the disappearance of Serbian investigative reporter Stefan Cvetkovic, who was found alive and well today after going missing near the town of Bela Crkva two nights ago.

Announcing at a special news conference that Cvetkovic had been found alive and without any trace of injury, President Aleksandar Vucic said the journalist was currently at the headquarters of the criminal police, who were in the process of verifying his allegations.

Large numbers of police were deployed to search for Cvetkovic after his car was found near Bela Crkva on the night of 13 June with the motor running, the lights on and the driver's door open, but with no sign of the driver.

"We are relieved to know that Stefan Cvetkovic is alive and in good health," RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. "We now call on the Serbian authorities to shed all possible light on the circumstances and reasons for his disappearance. RSF will follow developments in this investigation with close attention."

An investigative journalist who sometimes also acts as an activist, Cvetkovic has often criticized Serbian officials and in 2014 even filed a complaint accusing several of embezzling public funds. The same year, he also publicly challenged three officials about their role in certain criminal cases.

The sensitive cases he has covered include the murder of Oliver Ivanovic, a Kosovo Serb politician who was gunned down in Mitrovica, in northern Kosovo on 16 January.

According to the Serbian Association of Independent Journalist, he has been the target of many acts of intimidation and violence by criminal gangs and politicians during the past decade and has received many death threats.

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