Civil Rights Defenders condemns the arrest of six activists from the organisation MANS (Network for Affirmation of NGO Sector), during a street performance in front of the Parliament of Montenegro. Civil Rights Defenders urges the Montenegrin authorities to reexamine the legal procedures of the arrest and to stop the practice of arresting human rights defenders.
On 21 June, over 12.000 people signed a petition against the increase of VAT. Activists from MANS decided to organise a street performance to show people’s dissatisfaction with the law. The performance included spilling of a few gallons of red paint.
Six MANS activists, including the executive director Vanja Calovic, were arrested and held in custody for almost six hours. During the time spent in custody, they were not interrogated by the police, which lead the activists to the conclusion that they were locked up only to be harassed. The penalty court accused them of disturbing the public order and destruction of public property.
Civil Rights Defenders urges the Montenegrin authorities to reexamine the legal procedures of the arrest, and to stop the practice of arresting human rights defenders. The process against MANS’ activists should be adjourned. Moreover, the Montenegrin authorities are urged to fully respect the freedom of assembly of its citizens, and their right to express disagreement with the laws adopted in a non-violent manner.