On January 15, a Montenegro court convicted investigative journalist Jovo Martinović and sentenced him to 18 months in prison, Committee to Protect Journalists reported. Martinović has been convicted of drug trafficking and being a member of a criminal group. The journalist has denied the charges and said that he believed the charges to be retaliation for his reporting, the report added.
“I have been convicted for being a journalist,” Martinović was quoted as saying by Balkan Insight, the online publication of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN). He added, “If I really had any business with marijuana I would have been acquitted, like all those who are really in the narcotics [business].”
CPJ reports that the journalist would appeal this verdict. Martinović is free pending the outcome of the appeal.
“Martinović was first detained on October 22, 2015, along with 17 others, on suspicion of participating in a drug trafficking ring. Authorities charged him with allegedly facilitating a meeting between drug dealers and buyers. The journalist was released pending the outcome of his trial, and put under a travel ban in January 2017. His release came after an international outcry, including by CPJ,” the report states.