Slavko Ćuruvija

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Slavko Ćuruvija
Slavko Curuvija.jpg
Born (1949-08-09)9 August 1949
Zagreb, PR Croatia, FPR Yugoslavia
Died 11 April 1999(1999-04-11) (aged 49)
Belgrade, Serbia, FR Yugoslavia
Education University of Belgrade Faculty of Political Sciences
Occupation Journalist, publisher
Partner(s) Branka Prpa

Slavko Ćuruvija[pronunciation?] (Serbian Cyrillic: Славко Ћурувија; 9 August 1949 – 11 April 1999) was a Serbian journalist and newspaper publisher. His murder on 11 April 1999 in Belgrade, FR Yugoslavia provoked international outrage and wide condemnation. In January 2014 two people were arrested and two others named by the Serbian police as suspects in Ćuruvija's murder, including Radomir Marković, former head of the State Security Service (SDB) from 1998 to 2001.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Born to Rade Ćuruvija, an ethnic Serb officer of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) who spent World War II fighting in Lika on the Partisan side, Slavko was born and grew up in Zagreb. In addition to holding JNA rank, his father also worked for JNA's Counterintelligence Service (KOS) and State Security Service (UDBA). The family moved to Belgrade in 1958.[2] His parents divorced in 1965.[2]

After graduating from the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Belgrade, Ćuruvija found employment as a business secretary and PR assistant at Mašinogradnja in Belgrade. He soon became the contributor to Zagreb's Danas weekly magazine, as well as to the Social Research Center (Centar za društvena istrazivanja). Between 1984 and 1986, he worked as an analyst in Federal Interior Secretariat and State Security Service.[3]

Career in journalism[edit]

In 1986, Ćuruvija joined the staff of Borba: initially as commentator, then advancing to the position of domestic political section editor, and eventually becoming Borba's editor-in-chief. In 1987 he was one of the few journalists allowed to stand right next to Slobodan Milošević during his visit to Kosovo Polje on 24 April.[4] He stayed with the daily paper until 1994 while regularly contributing to Vjesnik, NIN, Večernji list, Pobjeda, TV Belgrade, and other media sources.

In 1994, after the regime's unofficial takeover at Borba, Ćuruvija, along with many other staffers decided to leave the daily. While some of them quickly reconvened to form Naša borba, Ćuruvija took another career route, hooking up with Momčilo Đorgović to found Nedeljni telegraf, a weekly tabloid newspaper. In 1996, the duo founded Dnevni telegraf, Serbia's first privately owned daily in more than 50 years. Ćuruvija was DT's director and editor-in-chief, and eventually, after splitting with Đorgović, its sole owner. In 1998, Ćuruvija additionally started a bi-weekly magazine Evropljanin where he gathered some notable names of Serbian journalism, including Aleksandar Tijanić and Ljiljana Smajlović.[3]

Relations with Mira Marković[edit]

Both Ćuruvija-owned publications benefited from his access to Mirjana Marković, wife of Serbian president Slobodan Milošević. Not many specific, established details that would indicate the extent of their relationship are publicly accessible. Most come from second or third hand accounts. Radio Television of Serbia produced 2006 TV documentary Kad režim strelja, Aleksandar Tijanić refers to it as a "non-aggression pact between Mira and Slavko allowing him access to many relevant pieces of information that ultimately greatly increased Dnevni telegraf's readership", while Ćuruvija's common-law wife Branka Prpa who was with him at the time of his murder attaches less significance to this friendship saying that it "revolved around conversations that many other journalists engaged in with Mira Marković hoping to manipulate her into revealing more than she'd originally planned". Prpa went on to add: "However, I think they became the ones being manipulated as the time went on".[5]

Whatever it was, their relationship was deteriorating by the day in late summer and early fall of 1998. Yugoslav army and Serbian police were in various stages of a crackdown on ethnic Albanian guerrillas in Kosovo, the threat of NATO bombing was hanging over everyone's head, and both of Ćuruvija's publications reported extensively on all of these issues, all of which earned Dnevni telegraf a ban on 14 October 1998 under a special new decree. Furious with these new developments, Ćuruvija demanded to see Mira Marković and a meeting was arranged at her party's (Yugoslav Left) offices during the week Dnevni telegraf was banned as the new Information Law was being prepared. The meeting, reportedly quickly turned into a heated exchange.[5]

According to Predrag Popović's book Oni ne prastaju (written from the author's subsequent interviews with Ćuruvija), Ćuruvija was shouting: "What the hell do you think you're doing. If you continue down this crazy path, you can be sure you'll all be hanging off lamp posts in Terazije". Visibly flustered, Mira reportedly responded: "How can you say that Slavko, after all we've allowed you". Slavko's later comment was also published in the book: "Evidently she thought she'd done me a great favour by allowing me to live a normal life and publish newspapers all those years". The meeting, their last ever, ended with Ćuruvija saying: "Say hello to your husband for me." To which [a] visibly shook up Mira responded: "I will not do that, but I will tell him everything you said." People who happened to be in the building said Mira Marković was crying after the meeting.[6]

In April 2006 piece on B92 TV, commemorating 7 years since the unsolved Ćuruvija murder case, Branka Prpa[who?] recounted few more details of the Ćuruvija-Marković exchange: "He was shouting 'What are you doing this for? You're going to cause a widespread war!' Mira then told him 'Oh, so you want them to bomb us.' He responded 'Well, maybe they should bomb you, it's the only way for us to finally get you out of power!'".[7]

Evropljanin trial on 23 October 1998[edit]

Ćuruvija's response to the unpleasant exchange was a scathing blast about the couple on the pages of Evropljanin, co-written with Aleksandar Tijanić.[8] The issue came out on 19 October 1998, one day before the Information Law was passed, which did not stop the authorities from putting Ćuruvija and his paper on trial four days later and prosecuting them under the same law. The culmination of the day-long trial was a DM350,000 fine.[citation needed]

Murder[edit]

On 11 April 1999 (which was Easter Sunday in the Serbian Orthodox Church that year), Ćuruvija was shot dead by two masked men in front of his house in Belgrade.[9] The Serbian government began a review on 24 January 2013 of several suspicious cases involving the alleged murders of journalists, including Ćuruvija, Milan Pantić, and Dada Vujasinović.[10]

Aleksandar Vučić, who was Minister for Information in Serbian government at the time of the Ćuruvija's murder, announced[when?] on a television programme for B92 television that there had been a recent progress in the investigation of the murder of Ćuruvija and expects it to be resolved soon.[11]

On 14 January 2014, Serbian police arrested two suspects in Ćuruvija's murder case, Milan Radonjić and Ratko Romić, both formerly employed by the Second department of State Security Service (SDB).[12]

Radomir Marković, former head of Federal Republic of State Security Service currently serving a 40-year term for orchestrating a 1999 attack on Serbian opposition leaders Vuk Drašković, and Miroslav Kurak, currently at large, are also suspects, the former for allegedly ordering the murder and the latter for being the alleged executor. The formal accusation for the murder was expected by February 2014, the key witness for the prosecution being Milorad Ulemek Legija, former commander of Special Operations Unit of the Serbian secret police.[1]

The former Serbian secret agent Ratko Ljubojević told a court[where?] in January 2016 that all reports concerning on Ćuruvija were ordered destroyed on 5 October 2000, the day Slobodan Milošević fell from power.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Улемек открио убице Славка Ћурувије" (Ulemek Reveals Slavko Ćuruvija's Killers), Politika, 14 January 2014 (in Serbian)
  2. ^ a b Predrag Popović. Jovo Ćuruvija: Bog će kazniti ubice mog brata Slavka (1. deo); 4 November 2014
  3. ^ a b Sahranjen Slavko Ćuruvija, Vreme No. 6, 17 April 1999
  4. ^ Deset godina ubojstva Ćuruvije
  5. ^ a b Slađana Zarić, RTS 2006 TV documentary Kad režim strelja (also on Youtube)
  6. ^ Predrag Popović,Oni ne prastaju, INFO ORFEJ, 2001
  7. ^ [1], b92.net; accessed 16 April 2015.
  8. ^ Profile, ex-yupress.com; accessed 16 April 2015.
  9. ^ Slavko Curuvija murder, freemedia.at; accessed 16 April 2015.
  10. ^ AFP (25 January 2013). "Serbia to review probes into killed reporters". The Australian. Retrieved 16 April 2015. 
  11. ^ Aleksandar Vučić comments, b92.net; accessed 16 April 2015.
  12. ^ "Хапшења у случају Ћурувија" ("Arrests in Ćuruvija Case"), rts.rs, 14 January 2014. (Serbian)
  13. ^ Balkan Insight, 12 January 2016

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