June 15, 2018 / 2:09 PM / 5 months ago

Serbia's journalist found alive after he went missing two days ago

BELGRADE, June 15 (Reuters) - A Serbian journalist who went missing two days ago while investigating the murder of a prominent Kosovo Serb politician is alive and well, President Aleksandar Vucic said on Friday.

Police found Stefan Cvetkovic’s abandoned car early on Thursday in the northern town of Bela Crkva with its engine running, doors open and lights on. They deployed dozens of officers, divers, search dogs and two helicopters to find him.

He was found on Friday unharmed in the Bela Crkva area, Vucic told a news conference at which he was flanked by the interior minister and head of state security.

“Cvetkovic ... is being questioned by the police. He will stay there for a while as he has a lot to explain,” Vucic said.

Over the past decade, Cvetkovic has said repeatedly he faced threats from local tycoons and politicians because of his work.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and Serbian journalist associations at home and abroad expressed concern about his disappearance.

In February, Cvetkovic said he had identified suspects in the January assassination of Kosovo Serb politician, Oliver Ivanovic.

In March 2017, Cvetkovic was sentenced to two years and three months in jail after local ruling party officials sued him for defamation. A higher court annulled the sentence in April.

The European Union and international watchdogs have repeatedly said Belgrade should improve media freedoms. It is a key precondition for Serbia’s bid to join the bloc, which it hopes to do around 2025. (Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by)

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