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13. 05. 2015

Suspected participant in journalist murder to be questioned

13.5.2015 (Večernje novosti, B92) - Dragan Antic, identified by some witnesses as a direct participant in the murder of journalist Milan Pantic, will soon be questioned in Germany.

The daily Vecernje Novosti - that Panic worked for when he was murdered in 2001 - reported this week that "an agreement between the German state bodies and the Serbian MUP's working group investigating the crime, concerning the details of the questioning, is nearly done."

Antic several days ago spoke for the newspaper and suggested he should be questioned via video-link, but refused direct contact with Serbian investigators. However, the competent prosecutor's office working on the case did not agree.

"In this case, there are reasonable arguments in favor of the questioning by investigating authorities, the working group of the Ministry of Interior in the case of murder of Milan Pantic, to be done in direct contact and with the approval of the competent prosecutor" Veran Matic, who chairs the government commission set up to investigate murders of journalists, told the daily, and added:

"We will therefore insist that the German judiciary and police approve an interview according to the standards that will allow professional and lawful work of investigative bodies, and respect the rules of international legal assistance and cooperation."

According to Matic, "anything else could be interpreted as undermining the investigation and legal actions."

The working group is getting new data every day, which is being reviewed in this context, and unlike before, proven fact are considered done and further elimination is conducted to narrow the circle of suspects and evidence, the reports said.

Several witnesses, who have been questioned, pointed out to Antic (whose surname was then Tesic) as one of the key actors in the murder of journalists on June 11, 2001 in Jagodina.

For nearly a year Serbia has been trying to question him, but until recently there was no answer. Antic, however, believes that individuals are threatening his life, and attributing various offenses to him, including the murder of Pantic, so they could "focus the investigation in the wrong direction." Antic, who now lives in Germany, is a former member of special forces, a member of the Tigrovi ("Tigers") unit and the Special Police of the Serb Republic (RS).

In a statement for the daily, Antic said that he has "professional expertise to fight against terrorism and preserve national interests."

"I was always among the best on the training ground and a fighter for justice. I never let anyone manipulate me and draw me into dirty activities. That was my biggest problem, because in such an environment the principle is 'if you're not with us, that is, if you're not dirty, then you are against us.' So I made a lot of enemies, who now accuse me," he said.

However, the article noted, the mobile phone number which he had at the time of the murder was discovered to have been used near the scene of the crime, as well as during the critical time. This has been one of the strongest leads, in addition to the testimony of witnesses who connect Antic with this bloody event. He argues, however, that he did not use this phone card at the time, as he "changed them many times and deliberately gave them to others to use on."

"I sold them with the mobile phone. That was one of my tricks for survival and the fight against the devil himself, because I gained time and sent them in the wrong direction, knowing that I was constantly monitored. The service certainly knows that it's not me, because I was physically followed," Antic said.

Antic also denied that he was socializing with "some manager of a brewery in Novi Sad," saying he never heard of the person in question, and had only traveled to Novi Sad twice.

"I have witnesses to when and where it happened. I'm ready to repeat it all again and take the polygraph test. Everything I am saying is the truth and I am ready to repeat it in front of anyone. Until now I did not want to meet with the Commission and investigating authorities, because I don't trust them. I want somebody neutral to be included and for my test to be performed with greater control," Antic told the newspaper.

Meanwhile, several former union leaders of the brewery in Jagodina have been questioned in detail in recent weeks about the circumstances of the murder Milan Panic, many also taking the polygraph test. Investigative bodies believe that some union leaders have direct knowledge not only about the crime, but also about the direct perpetrators of the monstrous murder.


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