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Montenegro Journalist Quits After Attack

Montenegro - Media representatives and Podgorica residents protest the March 7 attack against "Vijesti" reporter Olivera Lakic . 08Mar2012
PODGORICA -- Police in Montenegro said they have arrested a man suspected of attacking a journalist last week in violence that has drawn international condemnation.

The journalist, OIivera Lakic, said the attack -- and the threats that preceded it -- have forced her to quit journalism.

Lakic, 42, and her family have been under police protection since the March 7 incident, when an attacker repeatedly struck her on the head.

Police said they arrested a 29-year old suspect in Podgorica late on March 12. To date, they have not expressed an intent to investigate the attack to determine who ordered it and why.

Ms Lakic is not giving interviews, although offered this statement that appeared in the March 13th edition of "Vijesti, " the newspaper employing her.

"I feel defeated, but it is temporary. I fight as much as I could and I risked more than I should have risked. Because of my kids I have to stop doing my job as the state which was supposed to be with me in this fight is defeated too...Now I am waiting for the state to give me back my freedom and to let me work again."

Lakic received threats after writing a series of articles in the daily "Vijesti" about the illicit cigarette trade in Montenegro that documented the involvement of high-placed police officers.

About 1,000 Montenegrins have signed a petition asking the European Union -- which Montenegro hopes to join -- to pressure the government to tackle organized crime and protect journalists.

With AFP reports and contributions from RFE/RL's Balkans service.