May 11, 2018 / 3:21 PM / 3 months ago

EU tells Montenegro to investigate attack on journalist

BELGRADE (Reuters) - The European Union warned Montenegro on Friday that a shooting attack on a journalist would have an impact on the country’s EU membership bid and urged it to fully investigate the incident.

FILE PHOTO: The front-page of daily newspaper "Vijesti" with a picture of attacked Montenegrin investigative reporter Olivera Lakic is seen during a protest in Podgorica, Montenegro, May 9, 2018. REUTERS/Stevo Vasiljevic/File Photo

Olivera Lakic, 49, who writes about organized crime for the daily Vijesti, was shot and wounded on Tuesday in front of her apartment building in the capital Podgorica.

The attack sparked a protest by journalists, rights activists and opposition parties in Podgorica and was condemned by Montenegrin and foreign officials including President-elect Milo Djukanovic and EU enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn.

“This has an impact on the standing and reputation of the country...(It) is on our radar screen and we expect a proper investigation,” Hahn told reporters after visiting Vijesti’s offices and meeting Lakic after her release from hospital.

Montenegro, a small Adriatic republic, wants to join the European Union but to do so it must root out endemic organized crime and corruption.

It was the second attack on Lakic since 2012, when she was beaten, also in front of her home. A perpetrator was sentenced to nine months in jail but freed early as part of an amnesty. Three men are being sought over Tuesday’s shooting.

There have been about a dozen attacks on journalists and media organizations in Montenegro in the past 15 years including the 2004 killing of Dusko Jovanovic, a newspaper editor.

Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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