"Ivanovic, Europe's last political prisoner, should be free"
Serbia is asking that Oliver Ivanovic is set free "instantly and completely," Office for Kosovo and Metohija Director Marko Djuric said on Wednesday.Source: B92, Tanjug
In a statement for Tanjug, Djuric described the Serb politician from northern Kosovo as "the last political prisoner in Europe."
"Ivanovic is a man who is behind bars only because he belongs to the Serb people in Kosovo in Metohija and is the leader of a part of it - in order to create a fake balance in prosecuting war criminals," he said.
According to Djuric, Ivanovic was put in prison and separated from his family "although he is guilty of nothing" - while real war criminals walk freely around Kosovo and Metohija and the world, "pretending to be statesmen, representatives of institutions, those who reconcile nations."
The Basic Court in northern Kosovska Mitrovica on Wednesday ordered Ivanovic, who spent the previous 33 months incarcerated, released from prison and placed under house arrest.
Last week, the guilty verdict passed against him on war crimes charges was annulled and a new trial in the case ordered by a Pristina-based court of appeals.
Ivanovic, who is the leader of the SDP Civil Initiative, said today that he hoped the house arrest was "only the first phase toward freedom."
"The fight is ahead of me to prove I am innocent and have nothing do with this. All those who know me, whether Serbs or Albanians, know I have nothing to do with it, but I must convince the court chamber of it that. It's a hard road, but I will get through it," he said.