CPJ Update: Two Journalists Escape, While One Faces Trial in Yugoslavia

June 9, 1999 — The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a nonpartisan organization devoted to safeguarding press freedom around the world, has confirmed the following new developments in the cases of three independent journalists targeted by the Yugoslav military for practicing their profession.

Croatian journalist escapes Yugoslav military incarceration

Antun Masle, a correspondent for the independent Croatian weekly Globus, returned to Croatia today after escaping early on June 7 from the custody of Yugoslav federal troops in Podgorica, Montenegro. The 40-year-old veteran war correspondent evaded his guards in a Podgorica hospital, where he had been transferred recently from a military prison after complaining of stomach pains. He crossed into Croatia today and was reported heading for his home in Dubrovnik. Masle was apprehended by Yugoslav army soldiers on April 20 after he crossed the border from Albania into Montenegro. A Yugoslav military judge ordered him imprisoned pending an investigation into charges of espionage. If found guilty, Masle faced a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

Montenegrin publisher faces military trial for “treason”

Miodrag Perovic, publisher of the independent Montenegrin weekly Monitor, is scheduled to appear before a Yugoslav military tribunal in Podgorica on June 10.

Perovic is charged with treason under Yugoslavia’s martial law for his editorials, in which he called for greater Montenegrin autonomy. He fled to Italy last month after Yugoslav authorities ordered his arrest. Perovic returned to Montenegro on June 5 after military officials agreed not to arrest him upon his return and gave assurances that he would be treated fairly by the tribunal. If he is convicted, Perovic faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

Accused Montenegrin broadcaster seeks asylum in Italy

Nebojsa Redzic, chief editor at the independent Radio Free Montenegro, has requested political asylum in Italy. Redzic left Montenegro last month after Yugoslav army officials issued a warrant for his arrest. He was charged under martial law with illegally revealing army positions in wartime during his broadcasts.

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