LJUBLJANA, 23 December 2010 - the International Institute for Middle-East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES)from Ljubljana, Slovenia, strongly condemns the brutal assault against Branko Živković, an international freelance journalist for public relations and PR for Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia. Mr. Živković was assaulted in Belgrade in the evening of 16 December 2010 when an unidentified person brutally attacked him from the back and hurt him in his head (link: http://www.helsinki.org.rs/infocus_t02.html ).
The IFIMES International Institute is seriously concerned about the assault and urges the highest authorities in Serbia as well as the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Serbia, Minister Ivica Dačić and Director of Police Milorad Veljović to take all the necessary measures to apprehend and prosecute the perpetrators and to provide appropriate protection to Živkovič, a renowned freelance journalist who has been providing information via the Internet to the public in 75 countries.
The IFIMES International Institute has estimated that the individuals who fight for human rights and the journalists in Serbia are still exposed to a very high risk of assaults and threats to life and property, since the authorities are not able to protect them from physical assaults nor to ensure their right to the freedom of expression and reporting.
The IFIMES International Institute will inform the international institutions, organisations and the general public of the above event in order to stop such assaults and threats and ensure the prosecution of the perpetrators.
Ljubljana, 23 December 2010