Kosovo Police Intervention unit members receive a letter of reprimand for detaining KoSSev’s editor last year

Foto: Kosovo online

Police officers of the Regional Directorate of Police in Mitrovica North, Ivan Novicic, Srdjan Ristic, Milan Petrovic, and Tamara Virijevic, received a letter of reprimand over Tatjana Lazarevic’s detainment on April 11th, 2020, according to the decision of the Kosovo Police Committee for Appeals. The KoSSev portal editor-in-chief reached out to this committee after the police officers in question were found not guilty by the Regional Directorate of Police in Mitrovica North in October this year – following Lazarevic’s two complaints to the Kosovo Police Inspectorate and interrogation during the detainment. Repealing the decision of the N. Mitrovica police, the Committee for Appeals determined that four members of the intervention unit illegally and „without any particular reason“ picked up Lazarevic and violated the administrative instructions and work procedures of the Kosovo Police. Lazarevic is also awaiting the results of the complaint she filed with the Kosovo Police Inspectorate.

A year and a half after the KoSSev portal editor Tatjana Lazarevic was detained for allegedly violating epidemiological measures, and following Lazarevic’s two complaints with the Kosovo Police Inspectorate for illegal detainment, surveillance, and photography, Lazarevic’s complaint was rejected in October this year. At the same time, the members of the intervention unit who detained the KoSSev editor were found not guilty, as the police demonstrated that they did not take any illegal action.

Previously, the Kosovo Police Inspectorate forwarded the case to the Regional Directorate of Police in Mitrovica North, which reached this decision.

„Having determined that the report does not contain elements of a crime, the Kosovo Police Inspectorate submitted the complaint with attachments for further review to the Directorate for Internal Investigations & Past Verification. This Directorate, following another review of the complaint, assessed that the complaint, at this stage, does not contain serious disciplinary violations and the case was forwarded to the local level for further review (…) Following a disciplinary investigation, it was not possible to confirm the allegations presented in the complaint of Ms. Tatjana Lazarevic,” reads the document signed by the commander of the Regional Directorate North, Nenad Djuric.

On October 14th, the editor of KoSSev received a verbal note about the decision made on October 8th, and a few days later she was handed a written clarification of the decision.

This decision was made only a day after the recent clashes in North Mitrovica, when two KoSSev journalists were attacked while on assignment.

At the end of October, following the decision of the Regional Directorate of Police in Mitrovica North, Lazarevic once again filed a complaint with the Kosovo Police Inspectorate, reporting the case again. At the time, the PIK members assured Lazarevic that they would act in the best interest of law enforcement and as per the best practice of these institutions.

In all the complaints Lazarevic filed so far – starting from the day she was detained and questioned, as well as a day later when she again filed a complaint with the PIK in the police station in North Mitrovica, as well as a few days later in the PIK premises in Pristina, including the current December complaints to the PIK and the KP Committee for Appeals – she complained of three illegal actions during this process: surveillance of her movements by the police on April 11th, 2020, illegal detainment and photography on the spot – either by the police, in which case, this act is not a regular part of police work; or by a third party, to which none of the epidemiological measures in force at the time were applied.

The decision of the Committee for Appeals determined that Lazarevic was illegally picked up and brought to the police station. However, although the explanation of this decision contains Lazarevic’s allegations about the paparazzi photos, there is no conclusion on this issue, nor of Lazarevic’s claims of illegal monitoring/surveillance, in this decision either.

Based on the two decisions that have been made so far, the police have not yet determined who followed the editor of the KoSSev portal in a police car on the road she was walking on before the detainment. Also, the police have yet to reveal who took the paparazzi photos, which were published on the Kosovo online portal, practically at the same time Lazarevic was being detained.

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Preuzimanje i objavljivanje tekstova sa portala KoSSev nije dozvoljeno bez navođenja izvora. Hvala na poštovanju etike novinarske profesije.