Kosovo: Serbs remanded in one-month custody

PRIŠTINA -- EULEX judge Mariola Pasnik has remanded to one month in custody five of the six Serbs a village near Gnjilane, Kosovsko Pomoravlje, arrested two days ago.

Lawyer Dejan Vasić identified them for Tanjug as Zlatko Denić, Mladen Dimitrijević, Nikola Trajković, Dragan Stojković and Goran Matropazović.

They were remanded at the motion of special prosecutor Basri Morina on suspicion that they committed "an attack on Kosovo's constitutional order", as well as that they preventing official persons from performing their duty and unauthorized possession, control and use of weapons.

The hearing, which started Sunday and concluded early Monday morning, was held behind closed doors.

In Belgrade, it was announced that while the men lived in the province, they commuted to work every day to Vranje, central Serbia, and were employed by one of the displaced Interior Ministry directorates there.

Police Director Milorad Veljović said on Saturday that Trajković was found in possession of a hunting rifle, owned by his father, that had a permit of the the so-called "Kosovo institutions". Both him and Matropazović were issued with MUP's official IDs.

Dragan Stojković carried an ID of the International Police Association (IPA), said the MUP press office.

Interior Minister condemned the arrests, and said they represented an attempt at provocation carried out by the Kosovo Albanian authorities in Priština.

Probe urged

The Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) Diocese of Rašska and Prizren on Monday called for an urgent investigation into the Kosovo police abuse of force during the arrest of six Serbs in the Gnjilane region.

The Diocese is strongly protesting against Saturday's action by Kosovo police who demonstrated brutality against Serb civilians, including 70-year-old Živojin Stojanović from the village of Šilovo, and a child, the release reads.

“The police operations, during which children and elderly people are abused out of sheer brutality and with no reason, while private property is demolished, are contrary to any law and police standards in the world,“ Bishop of Raška and Prizren Teodosije said.

The Diocese also urged EULEX "to carry out an investigation into the incidents in Gnjilane so as to prevent future actions of this kind, and compensate the citizens for their suffering".