David Tasić, Mladina Journalist & “T” in JBTZ Affair, Dies

By , 24 Oct 2019, 21:45 PM Politics
David Tasić in 2018 David Tasić in 2018 YouTube screenshot

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STA, 24 October 2019 - David Tasić, a former journalist of the weekly Mladina, a publisher and one of the four political convicts in the JBTZ trial, a key event in the mosaic of Slovenian independence, has died, the newspaper Delo reported on Thursday.

Tasić was born in Kurševac, Serbia, in 1962. Between 1981 and 1989 he was a journalist and editor for Mladina.

He covered political events in Slovenia and Yugoslavia, and opened up topics that were considered taboo at the time. His feuilleton on Goli Otok, an island in Croatia where Yugoslav authorities deported political prisoners, raised a lot of dust.

On 31 May 1988, Janez Janša, a Mladina journalist at the time, and private Ivan Borštner were arrested for leaking a military document. Four days later, on 4 June 1988, Tasić and the magazine's editor-in-chief Franci Zavrl were also arrested.

The arrests led to the formation of a committee for the protection of Janša's rights, which later evolved into the Human Rights Committee, which organised mass protests against trying civilians in a military court and against the trials being held in the Serbian language, the language used in the Yugoslav People's Army.

At the end of June 1988, the Yugoslav People's Army court sentenced Borštner to four years in prison, Janša and Zavrl to 18 months, and Tasić to five months.

In mid-October 1988, the Military Supreme Court in Belgrade upheld the sentences and raised the punishment for Tasić to ten months, but none of the defendants served out their full sentences.

Apart from energising the fight for human rights, the JBTZ trial - named after the initials of the four defendants - spurred pluralisation and speeded up Slovenia's transition to independence and democracy, which is known as Slovenian Spring.

Tasić left Mladina in 1989 and went on to set up one of the first independent private publishers in Slovenia, Založba Karantanija. Since 1999, he focussed on studying phaleristics and kept a low public profile.

Taking to Twitter, Janša, who now leads the opposition Democrats (SDS), said Tasić "was a hero of the Slovenian Spring in 1988 and 2014, a good and upright man, and a fighter for freedom and light".

Zavrl told the STA that Tasić "was extremely honest and uncorrupted, and did not tolerate injustice. As a journalist he was always polite, yet also critical."

He sees Tasić's role in the JBTZ scandal as extremely important: "He was at the very centre of developments. He had the courage to take this little stone - which the

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