We stand with Dragan Umičević from Are You Syrious!
On Tuesday, 14 December 2021, Dragan Umičević, a volunteer with the Croatian NGO Are You Syrious, was sentenced to a fine of 60,000 kuna for "aiding and abetting unauthorised entry", which is equivalent to about 8,000 euros + court fees. This is more than 12 times his monthly income.
In March 2018, he had alerted the police to a larger group of refugees who had just crossed the Serbian-Croatian border. As the Croatian border police are known for systematically pushing refugees back with brute force, Umičević accompanied the group to the police station to ensure that the group could actually apply for asylum. In this particular case, the people he accompanied were the family of Madina Hussiny, a six-year-old girl who was killed on the railway tracks after Croatian police had previously pushed the family back.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled just this November that Croatia had grossly violated her right to life. Furthermore it was found that the authorities had tortured her family, denied them access to legal assistance and international protection, prevented th em from investigating her death, and systematically harassed Are You Syrious activists and lawyers.
When the family crossed the border again after losing their daughter in the previous push-back, Umičević wanted to ensure that this time the rest of the family would finally get their due. As a result, the police launched an investigation for "aiding and abetting unauthorised entry" and Umičević was fined 60,000 euros in 2018, against which he appealed. Yesterday, the Supreme Court in Zagreb upheld the sentence.
This is an outrageous, blatant act of revenge and intimidation that seeks to punish and stop all those who fight against the cruel practices at the borders.
We will not and must not allow Dragan to bear this burden alone.
If you would like to help Dragan pay the fine and continue his legal battle, you can donate to Are You Syrious, IBAN HR6824020061100765183 (SWIFT/BIC: ESBCHR22), using the reference "for Dragan".
We stand with Dragan! We will not be discouraged and keep fighting!
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Wednesday, 15 December 2021