The Human Rights Action is expressing concern over the fact that Minister of the Interior Danilo Šaranović does not understand the prohibition of ill-treatment to which Montenegro is bound by international human rights treaties and is ready to publicly justify torture committed by police officers.
Instead of offering a public apology for promoting a police officer who was legally convicted of ill-treatment to the position of head of his security detail, Minister Šaranović criticised journalists who discovered this! Even worse, he tried to justify the above criminal act by saying that it was allegedly not a “free citizen” that had been ill-treated, but rather “a person that was of interest to the security services or a member of a criminal group”. The Minister seems to believe that there are people whom police officers are actually allowed to mistreat!
Šaranović’s head of security, Vuk Vuković, admitted his guilt at the hearing, expressing remorse for having ill-treated Roganović. The Minister, however, publicly tried to downplay the serious form of criminal offence for which Vuković was convicted by stating that the only important thing was that Vuković “was not part of the Sky application correspondence”, that he “is not linked to cocaine smuggling”, and that he had hit the injured party only enough to cause “no more than redness, which does not constitute an injury”.
By the way, Vuković was legally convicted for “ill-treating Ivan Roganović by approaching him and addressing him with the words “Lie down, swine”, after which he kicked him with his right foot in the right thigh area, and then with his left foot in the right rib area. He then hit him with the sole of the right foot in the back of the head, pushing his head towards the ground, after which he kicked him with his right foot in the right rib and shoulder area of the body”.
This means that, in this case, the journalists justifiably problematized true facts, acting within the framework of freedom of expression. They behaved in line with their Code of Ethics, according to which they are obliged to critically view “holders of social, political and economic power” when reporting on them in the public interest.
Instead of attacking journalists for doing their job, the Minister should be doing his own. That is, he should be using every opportunity to send unequivocal messages that torture by police officers must not be tolerated or in any way encouraged.