Serbian Opposition Leader Says He Was Beaten by Secret Service

    Serbian Opposition Leader Says He Was Beaten by Secret Service
    Photo: Vladimir Zivojinovic/Getty Image News via Getty Images (Dec. 30, 2023)

    The Facts

    • Nikola Sandulović, an opposition leader in Serbia, claims he was beaten and tortured by Serbian secret service police, causing him to be paralyzed on his left side and suffer damage. He spoke out for the first time since the alleged incident, releasing a statement on Wednesday.

    • On Jan. 3, a black van allegedly came to Sandulović's home and took him to the Security Intelligence Agency headquarters where approximately 15 government agents beat him. The politician was hospitalized the next day before being transferred to a prison, where he could not communicate with the outside world.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    The reprehensible abduction and abuse of Nikola Sandulović demonstrates the autocratic and oppressive nature of the Vucic regime. While the government accuses Sandulović of promoting unrest by simply posting a video of a Kosovan leader’s grave, Sandulović’s real "crime" is his criticism of Vucic. The Serbian government clearly has no qualms about abusing political dissidents, and the actions taken against Sandulović show that the Vucic regime doesn’t value democracy at all.

    Narrative B

    Nikola Sandulović is a politician who has no support from the Serbian people or its government, so he's now making up lies to undermine Serbian society and promote ethnic tension. There's no evidence that suggests that intelligence agents beat Sandulović, and he is trying to gain Western sympathy by running a smear campaign against Pres. Vucic and his government. Perhaps Sandulović should try to win over the Serbian people instead of making up lies to sow discord in Serbian politics.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 46% chance that Serbia will be part of the European Union in 2050, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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