LONDON - Responding to news that Serbia’s Finance Ministry has launched a terrorist financing and money laundering probe into several journalists and dozens of nongovernmental organizations that work on human rights and transparency, Amnesty International’s Europe Director, Nils Muiznieks, said:

“The targeting of journalists and NGOs on absurd allegations of money laundering and financing terror is a blatant act of intimidation and the latest in an ongoing campaign by Serbian authorities to silence critics.

“This kind of arbitrary investigation that specifically targets those critical of the government undermines the right to freedom of expression and threatens freedom of the press. These investigations must be dropped.”


Background


The Ministry of Finance has requested bank information from 20 individuals and 37 nongovernmental organizations and institutions including the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) and Serbia’s two main journalist associations, as well as rights groups such as the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights and Civic Initiatives.