Norwegian reporter announces lawsuit against Kosovo police

FRANKFURT -- Norwegian journalist and writer Kristian Kahrs has announced that he would file a lawsuit against the Kosovo police, accusing them of harassment.

A scene from Gazimestan last week (Beta)
A scene from Gazimestan last week (Beta)

This former officer of the NATO troops in Kosovo, KFOR, says he was mistreated by the local police as he attended St. Vitus Day (Vidovdan) ceremonies in the province last week.

Kahrs - who previously publicly sought forgiveness from Serbs for all the evil done to them during and after NATO's attacks in 1999 - has been fined by the Kosovo authorities for "disturbing public order and peace".

The Norwegian told the Frankfurt-based Serbian language daily Vesti that he was in Kosovo last week wearing a t-shirt with the Serbian flag in an attempt to show his respect for the holiday of Vidovdan.

"While we were waiting in front of Gazimestan, I heard that this was not very smart, so I took the t-shirt off and put in in my bag, and my hat, with the Serbian flag, in my pocket. I did not wish to provoke. When I came to the policemen, they opened my bag, took the t-shirt out and threw it away without saying anything. I told them I was an international reporter and that they had no right to do that, to which one of them snapped at me: this is Albania, this is not Serbia. I answered: excuse me, this is Serbia," Kahrs described his encounter with the Kosovo police (KPS).

After he insisted on "pointing out to somebody that he disagreed with such treatment", he was questioned by the KPS intelligence department, said the article.

"Among other things, they said that I had entered Kosovo illegally because I came via (Serb-dominated) north. I said it was not my fault that they had no customs in the north. I also said I was sorry that there were such policemen in the KPS who do not respect freedom of speech and human rights, to which they responded - if that's how things are in Europe, then we don't want Europe! I understand that Albanians are very sensitive because they are in the process of building an identity - but they say they are a multi-ethnic society and then mind Serbian flags. At the same time there are Kosovo and Albanian flags displayed on every corner in Priština," said Kahrs.

He explained that he was forced to pay a EUR 500 fine, and was now contacting lawyers in order to file his lawsuit against the Kosovo police.

"I am calling on everyone ready to fight for human rights to join me. It was the Kosovo police that was provoking at Gazimestan. I'm not saying that every policeman should be judged. There are honest people there as well. Some told me unofficially that they did not act well," said the Norwegian.

Kahrs concluded by saying that he previously served with KFOR in Kosovo where he arrived "from democratic Norway to help create democracy and defend human rights".