Back to Opinions Hope on the Balkans   Kosov@ Crisis 1999
Back to Kosov@
Crisis 1999
Opinions Archive 1999
Case of Serbian activist Vesna Pesic:
Urgent support needed

Serbia's oppressive regime continues to experience contractions on several levels and is duly responding with tactics threatening the lives and work of activists, journalists, academics and human rights workers. The attached letter is an appeal made by The Civic Alliance of Serbia. They are calling for support in the case of Vesna Pesnic, a well-known Serban activist. On behalf of Women In Black, I am forwarding this letter with the knowledge that your organization responds with alacrity to repressive activities carried out against human rights activists. I trust that your organization will do everything possible to draw attention to this case, and would work to broaden its scope by alerting other likeminded organizations. The Civic Alliance of Serbia
Terazije 3/VIII, 11000 Belgrade, Yugoslavia
Tel/fax: +381 11 3341-696, 3341-478,

Belgrade, August 17 1999

Dear Friends,

Ms. VESNA PESIC, world known Serbian activist for human rights and former President of the Civic Alliance of Serbia, might be indicted for violating The Constitution. If indicted and sentenced, she might face 10 to 20 years of imprisonment.

Serbian state TV is broadcasting this news/threat every hour: "On the August 17th, Pancevo district attorney, asked local police from Vrsac to bring him detailed evidence on the subject in order to indict Ms. Vesna Pesic for inviting people to violently break constitutional order in Serbia and FRY."

Several days ago at the rally in Vrsac, organized by the Alliance For Change, Serbian largest opposition democratic group, Ms. Pesic said: "If they (authorities) are not ready and willing to give up their power in a peaceful and democratic manner, it just might happen that "Romanian" model will have to work."

This statement provoked severe propaganda attacks from the state controlled media against the Alliance For Change, Ms. Pesic being particularly targeted.

Earlier this morning Belgrade police have beaten up and arrested Mr. Bogoljub Arsenijevic Maki, painter, organizer one of the rallies in Valjevo, several weeks ago. Later during the day, at the session of the Federal Parliament, Mr. Ljubisa Ristic, M.P. and President of JUL, (Mrs. Milosevic ultra leftist ruling party) stated: "This is not a political fight anymore, this is fight for life or death." As a result, only few hours later, state TV started broadcasting the news/threat about Ms. Vesna Pesic faces possible criminal charges.

Fearing for her life and safety we urge you to help Ms. Vesna Pesic.

Just as a reminder, Ms. Vesna Pesic is the founder of the Center for Antiwar Action, leading NGO dealing with human rights in Serbia.

She is the founding member of Helsinki Committee for Serbia (1985) and of the European Movement in Serbia (1990).

Until recently, she was the President of the Civic Alliance of Serbia, the leading democratic and antiwar political party in Serbia.

She received the Democracy Award of the National Endowment for Democracy (1993), Andrej Sakharov Freedom Price - Annual Award for 1997 (Norwegian Sakharov Freedom Fund), W. Averell Harriman Democracy Award (National Democratic Institute, 1997) and nominated for the Nobel Peace Price, 1998.

Source: Greek Helsinki Monitor

Back to Opinions | Back to Kosov@ Crisis 1999