Brutal Attack in Prijepolje: Opponents of Planned Power Dams on Lim River Severely Beaten17. August 2012 - 11:15 — Dejan Georgievski
The representatives of non-governmental organizations from Prijepolje and the area were brutally beaten up last Wednesday, August 15, 2012, at the presentation of the Environmental Impact Assessment Study for the project to build two high dams on the Lim River. Acting on orders given by Milan Čušić, Deputy Director of Belgrade-based REV Ltd. company, several cops-for-hire from REV attacked the activists who suffered injuries and grievous bodily harm.
Esad Kurbegović from NGO Friends of Brodarevo from Brodarevo, Zoran Ružić from the Centre for Investigation, Monitoring, Anti-Corruption and Rule of Law from Prijepolje, Dragoljub Simović from Mountaineering and Ski Club Kolovrat, Amel Kurbegović from the NGO Network of Brodarevo and Jasmina Simović from Prijepolje Rafting Club were severely beaten.
“This was evidently a planned incident and TV recording clearly shows the instigators threatening the NGO representatives that they will break their sculls and tear their heads off. At one moment, Milan Ćušić from REV ordered for the women to be escorted out of the room and said ‘security’, followed by the brutal attack on Esad Kurbegović, who suffered a broken nose and bruises all over his body, and Amel Kurbegović who received several head injuries”, states the letter sent to the Serbian offices of OSCE and the European Union, signed by the NGO Friends of Brodarevo, on behalf of the local civil society organizations.
The Friends of Brodarevo add that Zoran Ružić, Dragoljub Simović and Jasmina Simović were lucky to get out of it with less serious injuries and that the five activists spent the whole afternoon in the emergency room of Prijepolje hospital.
The CSOs that opposed the planned two power-dams on the Lim also complain about substandard premises for the presentation and debate of the Environmental Impact Assessment Study, which was held in the attic of the town hall in Prijepolje, which according to the reporters of Večernje novosti daily, is known locally as the “pidgin house”.
The CSOs from Prijepolje have fought for more than five years to preserve the natural environment in the area and draw their legitimacy from the petition against threats and devastation of nature signed by 5,000 citizens. They demand from OSCE and EU representatives in Serbia to gen involved in the problem.
“We ask you to take action, in accordance with EU directives and other documents, and get involved in the process of finding solution for this serious problem in which people are beaten in full public view on orders of a company that follows no moral or human principle. The attacked are legitimate representatives of the citizens fighting for protection of the rights of citizens, protection of natural environment, cultural heritage and traditions in the area of Polimlje”, NGO Friends of Brodarevo says in the letter.
They also demand a meeting with international representatives to fully inform them about the problem and also asked them to initiate a meeting with highest offices of the state and inform the international public about the incident.
“Although we trust that Serbian police and judicial authorities will take proper action, we feel that our members and civil society representatives need greater level of protection of their physical integrity and the safety of their families”, states the letter to OSCE and EU.
The REV Ltd company (Serbian branch of Canadian company Reservoir Capital) says in a statement for the public that the debate was interrupted for security reasons “after several persons tried to prevent the debate with violent behavior”. The company lists the names of the experts who came to the debate and were prepared, REV says, “to offer scientific facts to defend the planned dams, construction and operation methods”.
REV was supposed to start construction works on the two power-dams on the Lim river, which would produce electricity to satisfy the needs of 60,000 households, in the summer of 2011. (Source: CRNPS/E-novine/Friends of Brodarevo)