Man arrested over ‘death threat’ to Serbian president

Dragan Mijatovic allegedly issued a post referencing the assassination attempt against Slovak PM Robert Fico

A Serbian national has been detained after making a death threat against President Aleksandar Vucic, the country’s Ministry of Internal Affairs said on Thursday.

The statement identified the suspect as Dragan Mijatovic from Sombor, a town on the border with Croatia, and said he had been taken into police custody “due to the threat of endangering the security of the President of the Republic.” Mijatovic will remain in jail for 48 hours while authorities conduct an initial investigation.

Mijatovic is believed to have made the alleged threat on X (former Twitter). On May 15, Vucic took to the platform to comment on the attempted assassination of Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico the same day, saying he was “shocked” and calling Fico “a great friend” to himself and Serbia.

In response to Vucic’s comment, Mijatovic wrote: “That was a rehearsal for your assassination!” He did not justify himself nor explain his dislike of Vucic. It is not known whether the suspect made other threats against the president.

Serbian officials strongly condemned the post about Vucic, calling it “shameful,” while praising him for fighting for a strong and free Serbia. Justice Minister Maja Popovic said it was “unacceptable” that some individuals saw the attempted assassination of the Slovak prime minister as an opportunity to threaten the president of Serbia.

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Security personnel carrying Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico (C) towards a vehicle after he was shot in Handlova on May 15, 2024.
Fico shooter protested suspension of Ukraine military aid – Slovak interior minister

Fico was shot and wounded on Wednesday after taking part in a government meeting in the town of Handlova. He was in surgery for five hours, and remains in intensive care.

Fico’s alleged attacker was detained immediately. He has been identified by the media as 71-year-old Juraj Cintula, a former security guard at a shopping mall and a published poet. However, Slovak authorities have yet to confirm his identity. At a press briefing on Thursday, Slovak Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok said the suspected shooter told police that he shot Fico because he “disagreed” with his policies, including the suspension of military aid to Ukraine. Estok said the perpetrator acted alone, and that he had participated in anti-government protests, but was not associated with any radical groups. The minister added that the authorities are also looking into 32 people who praised the attack online.

Local media report that the Slovak authorities have already charged the shooter with the attempted murder of the prime minister. He faces a life sentence.


READ MORE: Russia wishes ‘speedy recovery’ to Slovak PM

Both Fico and Vucic are known for their unpopular stance on the Ukraine conflict. Despite broad Western condemnation of and sanctions on Russia, both have made an effort to maintain relations with Moscow. Fico stopped all Slovak military aid to Ukraine upon taking office last year, arguing that “people in Slovakia have bigger problems,” and he has repeatedly criticized Brussels’ measures against Russia. Vucic has likewise refused to sanction Moscow despite pressure from Western powers.

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