Family, lawyer not allowed to visit arrested Kosovo Serb
Serbian Governmnet's Office for Kosovo and Metohija Director Marko Djuric on Friday received Bogdan Mitrovic's family in the Palace of Serbia in Belgrade.Source: Tanjug
Mitrovic is an elderly displaced Serb from Kosovo who was arrested earlier this week while visiting his property in a Kosovo village along with a group of other IDPs.
During the meeting today, Djuric said that he was seeking freedom for Mitrovic - "an innocent man who has been kidnapped by the Kosovo police in front of his entire family."
"Why did six-year-old Filip have to watch his grandfather, with his hands behind his back, being led out of the bus like a criminal?," Djuric asked.
He said that those who resort to persecuting others in this way only because their victims have Serbian names and had come to visit their homes and their church, built in 1315, should be ashamed of themselves.
"Shame on everyone who keeps silent before this injustice. It is high time that the international community and all those responsible for security of all people in Kosovo and Metohija stop such brutal persecution," Djuric said.
He added that it was also high time for "reason and justice to defeat injustice, persecution and the abuse that the Mitrovic family is exposed to today."
"Bogdan Mitrovic has six children, 24 grandchildren, 12 grandchildren, who deserve to have their husband, father, grandfather, grandfather return to them," Djuric said.
He stressed that those responsible for this persecution and for all other persecutions of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija during the previous decades "deserve to be confronted with their responsibility."
Djuric's message to those who handcuffed Mitrovic was that unless they respected his human and civil rights, they too could find themselves handcuffed.
Nebojsa Mitrovic, the son of Bogdan Mitrovic, said that the whole family was in shock.
Mitrovic said that his father never had any conflict with Albanians and pointed out that "80 percent of his friends were Albanians."
"If my father had some fear, had he committed some crime, he would have forgotten his property and his father's grave," he said, adding that in case he was guilty of some crime committed there, Bogdan would not have been visiting Kosovo three or four times a year during the last 17 years.
Nebojsa Mitrovic also revealed that his father is not allowed to receive visits from his family, and that has health problems.
When reporters asked if he had any information about his father, Mitrovic replied that he did not, and reiterated that the family was not allowed to visit him.
Mitrovic also thanked the Office led by Djuric and President Aleksandar Vucic for their support.
On Thursday, Belgrade's liaison officer in Pristina, Dejan Pavicevic, announced that although a court allowed him and a defense lawyer to visit the 74-year-old Serb in prison in the town of Podujevo, they were prevented from doing this. The prison administration told them that they "did not have sufficient technical capabilities, i.e., staff that day, to let them see Mitrovic."
They were also told they could not visit Mitrovic "before the beginning of next week," Pavicevic told Tanjug.