Victories in the Tuzla Kvarc case

Thanks to a two-year international campaign, activists have achieved a string of major victories in the Tuzla Kvarc whistleblower retaliation case.

The latest success came in July 2017, when a Bosnian court ruled that the government-run channel FTV defamed Tuzla Kvarc deputy director Zlatan Velagić when it falsely linked him to an Islamic terrrorist group.

The phony TV report was part of an 18-month retaliation campaign against Tuzla Kvarc, a family-operated mining company that exposed a government bribery scheme in 2015 in the northeastern Bosnian city of Tuzla. Company managers exposed a local mining official who had demanded a €15,000 bribe in exchange for granting the company a mining license.

Rather than thanking the company for helping to nab the corrupt official, the government filed bogus criminal charges against the company and its director, froze its bank accounts, seized some of its assets, and conducted nuisance inspections. In October 2015 the company’s administrative offices were burned, ransacked and demolished.

A campaign to fight back against the retaliation was launched by the Sarajevo-based Center for Responsible Democracy-Luna.

The first victory came in April 2016, when officials granted the company a mining license. On December 22 a judge threw out the dubious criminal charges against the company and its director. The following February 7, the local mining official was sentenced to 20 months in prison on bribery and extortion charges.

The story of Tuzla Kvarc is chronicled in the documentary, Price of Justice (Cijena Pravde).