ALERT: Please tell Bosnian Prime Minister Denis Zvizdić to drop all charges against Tuzla Kvarc and allow the company to put its 50 employees back to work.
Please e-mail Zvizdić at firstname.lastname@example.org
Whistleblowers in Bosnia who have been hunger striking to protest retaliation inflicted upon them by the government and unknown perpetrators have dug their own graves (see photo below).
As we have been informing you over the past months, The Tuzla Kvarc mining company in Bosnia and Herzegovina has suffered non-stop retaliation since it exposed a government bribery scheme last year. Rather than being thanked for exposing corruption, Tuzla Kvarc has faced reprisals that have brought the company to its knees.
Authorities have shut down its quartz mining operations. Workers have not been paid since January. Last October one of Tuzla Kvarc’s offices was burned, demolished, flattened and chopped to bits in the middle of the night by unknown perpetrators. Prosecutors filed criminal charges against the company and its director for mining without a license – even though the reason it didn’t have a license was because they refused to pay a bribe.
With their options to fight running out, several employees and activists began a hunger strike in April to draw attention to this shocking case of whistleblower retaliation.
One of hunger strikers is Bojan Bajić of the Center for Responsible Democracy-Luna, which is leading the campaign in support of Tuzla Kvarc. “I did not know that this kind of coordinated aggression by a bureaucracy – in the name of the law – was possible,” Bajić said. “The case of Tuzla Kvarc is the breaking point of my hope that this is a normal country.”
The story of company director Smail Velagić’s saga from whistleblower to retaliation victim is chronicled in the documentary, Cijena Pravde (The Price of Justice)
Director, International Whistleblower Project / Blueprint for Free Speech
Co-coordinator, Southeast Europe Coalition for Whistleblower Protection