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Kosovo: Belgrade protests growing arrests of Serbs

last update: March 28, 17:22

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Belgrade, 28 March (AKI) - Serbian authorities on Wednesday protested against growing arrests of Serbs in Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008, saying it was a proof “that Serbs in Kosovo are exposed to terrible pressure”.

At least twelve Serbs have been arrested over the past week by Kosovo police on suspicion that they worked for Serbian institutions which Belgrade still operates in its former province, but Pristina claims they were “illegal”.

Four Serbs were arrested Tuesday evening at border crossing with Kosovo on charges that they carried election material for 6 May Serbian elections parliamentary and municipal elections, which Pristina opposes.

Five people were arrested on Monday for allegedly carrying Serbian political literature and for “fomenting national and ethnic hatred”.

Belgrade opposes Kosovo independence, declared by majority ethnic Albanians, but has agreed under international pressure to a joint border control, freedom of movement and on representation of Kosovo in international forums.

The European Union has tied Serbia’s bid for membership to normalization of relations with Kosovo, short of formal recognition, and pro-European president Boris Tadic is eager to please Brussels to achieve that goal.

“It is quiet clear that Pristina by such acts stultifies the agreement on freedom of movement and by frequent arrests of Serbs, who work for Serbian institutions, wants to intimidate Kosovo Serbs,” the ministry said in a statement.

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