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Serbian Far-Right Group Risks Court Ban

Vladimir Cvijan, head of parliament’s committee on constitutional affairs and a member of the presidency of the ruling Progressive Party, said the Constitutional Court may again be asked to discuss banning the far-right organisation SNP Nasi following a spate of incidents.

In one of them, SNP Nasi members torched the flag of the northern province of Vojvodina on January 14 in the province's main city, Novi Sad.

On January 12 and 13, SNP Nasi put up posters in several towns and cities, naming various media groups and NGOs “anti-Serbian” and “financed by Western secret services”.

The movement first published its so-called black list of NGOs and media outlets in November, urging the authorities to outlaw them.

On January 15, Cvijan said that as “new circumstances” had occurred, media groups as well as individuals had legal grounds to ask Constitutional Court to ban the organisation.

Sasa Jankovic, the ombudsman, expressed his belief that the courts will investigate the case and, if SNP Nasi cannot defend its actions before the court, penalise the movement.

“Either the NGOs and journalists are foreign spies and should be prosecuted, or someone is disturbing the public peace, for which our laws stipulate penalties,” Jankovic said on January 14.

The opposition Democratic and Liberal Democratic Parties have also urged the authorities to prosecute SNP Nasi.

“Serbia has again became a country in which all who think differently are stigmatised, political opponents are labelled traitors and criminals and their photos are posted as arrest warrants on every corner,” the Liberals said on January 14.

The House of Human Rights, a local NGO, supported by about 100 organisations and individuals, sent a letter to Zagorka Dolovac, Serbia's public prosecutor, demanding her to prosecute those who “persecute individuals and organisations committed to people ‘s equality” or to submit her resignation.

“The perpetrators have left signatures with their full names. There is no a justification for the silence of the prosecution,” wrote the House of Human Rights adding that the lack of response by the prosecution has only made the extremists stronger.

SNP Nasi is best known in Serbia for its support for the idea of a Greater Serbia and for inciting violence against gays.

Serbia's Public Prosecutor filed a motion to the Constitutional Court to ban all extremist organisations in 2009.

The motion against SNP Nasi was based on the grounds that it aimed at the violent overthrow of the constitutional order and incited national, religious and racial hatred.

In November 2012, the Constitutional Court dismissed the motion, stating that claims that the association threatened constitutional order had not been confirmed.

The Court banned a neo-Nazi group, Nacionalni Stroj, in June 2011, and the far-right organisation Obraz in June 2012.

Credit: Balkan Insight

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