The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) is deeply concerned by yesterday’s detention of Stevan Dojcinovic, a regional editor for OCCRP and founder of the Crime and Corruption Reporting Network (KRIK) in Serbia, by local police upon arrival at Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Dojcinovic was traveling to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to speak at the eighth session of the Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), the UN’s biannual global gathering to combat corruption. Despite official recognition by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime as a delegation member of the “UNCAC Coalition” — a global coalition of civil society representatives — Dojcinovic was detained and deported.
“This is outrageous,” said Drew Sullivan, OCCRP’s co-founder and publisher. “When a state hosting the world’s largest, official anti-corruption gathering denies entry to an invited journalist, it raises serious questions about its commitment.”
Airport police told Dojcinovic that UAE immigration authorities barred his entry due to his appearance on an “international blacklist,” but did not provide specifics. He was put on the next flight back to Belgrade.
“UNCAC formally recognizes civil society’s role in fighting corruption. Detention and denial of entry on this occasion without clear justification is a major step backward,” said OCCRP Chief of Global Partnerships and Policy Camille Eiss.
Dojcinovic was confirmed as a conference speaker on a panel entitled, “Global Threats and International Cooperation: New approaches in addressing cross-border corruption, money laundering, and organized crime.”
“Over the years Stevan has exposed criminals and corrupt politicians who cross frontiers and know no borders. Then, on his way to speak truth to power, he was literally stopped at the border,” said OCCRP Co-Founder Paul Radu. “This is unacceptable.”
Recognized as one of the world’s best investigative journalists, Dojcinovic is the 2019 recipient of the Knight International Journalism Award by the International Center for Journalists.