Sixteen persons have been fined so far in what was labeled on social media as ‘corona party’ at a Sarajevo restaurant on Monday evening, which involved a state minister, medical workers and local celebrities, Sarajevo Canton Interior Minister Ismir Jusko told N1.
“Cantonal inspection will deal with the restaurant that opened for the party. They didn’t keep distance, we can say we have the collected works here. This means fines of 500 marks (approx 250 Euros) each and a fine for the restaurant owner ranging between 2,000 to 10,000 marks (approx 1,000-5,000 Euros),” said the minister, adding that nobody was apprehended at the site.
Screenshots taken from a video shared online by one of the participants of the event became viral Monday evening, sparking fury among the citizens.
What appeared to be a birthday party of a doctor at the Sarajevo University Clinical Centre came amid coronavirus pandemic, while the restrictions including the gathering ban were still in effect.
The party was interrupted by the police soon after the video and the photos leaked on the internet.
“It was not only the matter of the party but the profiles of people who attended it. Many of them should serve as a moral compass to all of us and they ruined all postulates last night,” said Jusko, adding that all this is happening while half a million of Sarajevo Canton residents are staying at their homes, wearing masks and keeping physical distance.
“Nothing has caused more anger and fury in me than what happened the last night,” he added.
Reportedly, among the guests were Stasa Kosarac, Bosnia’s Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, Nihad Fejzic, Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and a member of the team of experts in charge of monitoring the situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Fahrudin Pecikoza, the delegate at the Sarajevo Canton Assembly, as well as several popular Sarajevo singers.
The doctor who organised the party will face sanctions, Sarajevo University Clinical Centre general manager, Sebija Izetbegovic, told N1.
She said doctor Jusuf Sabanovic, who is the chief of the General and Abdominal Surgery Clinics, will bear the consequences for the party he organised and inviting a large number of quests, despite the coronavirus pandemic restrictions.
He will also be a subject of a procedure for “irresponsible and unprofessional behaviour,” the Sarajevo Canton Medical Chamber confirmed.
Minister Kosarac conveyed a public apology, explaining he was there only to wish a happy birthday to his friend, without knowing how many guests would be at the restaurant. He said he would pay the fine.
But, two political parties that were among the first to condemn the event have asked for more rigorous measures than 500 marks fines, which are imposed on citizens on daily basis for not wearing their face masks in public.
While the Democratic Front (DF) marked the behaviour of the expert team member as the most shameless, the Our Party (NS) called for immediate resignations.
“We expect even more rigorous sanctions for irresponsible representatives of the authority, the academic community and doctors who breach the bans they imposed themselves and/or justify them when it comes to citizens,” the DF said, urging judicial bodies to act.