One-Month Detention to a Serb Arrested for Attack Against KFOR; Lawyer Claims Decision Prejudiced Against Serbs

One-Month Detention to a Serb Arrested for Attack Against KFOR; Lawyer Claims Decision Prejudiced Against Serbs
FOTO: KoSSev

One-Month Detention to a Serb Arrested for Attack Against KFOR; Lawyer Claims Decision Prejudiced Against Serbs…

Forty-five-year-old Serbian citizen L.D. from Zvečan, who was arrested the day before yesterday at the Bistrica checkpoint, had a one-month detention ordered by the Basic Court in Pristina today.

He is suspected of four criminal offenses allegedly committed in front of the Zvečan municipality on May 29th last year, when a group of Serbs clashed with KFOR members.

This information was confirmed earlier today by his lawyer Ljubomir Pantović to KoSSev, emphasizing his defense stance that „there are actually no criminal offenses.“

L.D. is charged with the criminal offenses of „association for unconstitutional activities,“ „endangering persons under international protection,“ „participation in a crowd committing a criminal offense and hooliganism,“ and „assault on an official.“

The detention was assessed by the court due to the belief that „there is a risk of flight“ if he were released, given that „he works in Serbia and could be inaccessible to judicial authorities in Kosovo“ – reports Koha.

Moreover, L.D. is employed by the Customs of Serbia and is currently held at the Grdini prison near Podujevo.

„Determined to detain and punish every person for whom there is anything“

Lawyer Ljubomir Pantović, who could not disclose all the case details tonight, emphasized that the criminal offenses do not exist, and that L.D. was never part of the group, from which he was several tens of meters away.

Although he requested house arrest or at least a combined measure – house arrest with reporting to the police station for his client, arguing that he detailed the reasons why such a request is reasonable, as opposed to detention – the latter was still imposed.

The lawyer of arrested L.D. for KoSSev says that Kosovo authorities are determined to detain or punish every person for whom there is „anything“ – „even if it’s just a photograph“ from the events of May 29 last year in front of the Zvečan municipality.

„For every event for which Serbs are blamed, they extract and load him with as many criminal offenses as possible, hypothetically pulling it out of the law,“ Pantović testifies based on his experience with current arrests.

„I see that N.O. admitted guilt today. Before that, D.O. and R.P. admitted guilt, too, although they initially claimed they were innocent. And they are innocent! But they are simply burdened with numerous serious criminal offenses and heavy penalties, so they have to admit their guilt even though they are innocent to get out of detention.“

He believes that this is tendentious prosecution by the prosecutor’s office, or Pristina’s intention to „completely discipline“ the Serbian population.

„Prosecutor presented falsehoods“

He said the prosecutor allegedly used falsehoods, which he testified to today at the hearing.

As one such example, he mentioned that the prosecutor today justified his request for L.D. to be in detention because „he lives and works outside Kosovo.“ However, on the other hand, the court document itself states an address in Zvečan. Moreover, L.D. is precisely the neighbor of Pantović, who lives just a hundred meters away from him.

Also, as Pantović further notes, the prosecutor falsely testified that L.D. had allegedly been on the run the whole time, and that’s why he would flee again, insisting on detention.

„What kind of escape, prosecutor?! He works on the border. He is a customs officer and travels daily from his home to Jarinje. Every day, his ID card is entered into the computer to register his exit from Kosovo, and when he returns, it is registered for entry into Kosovo. Every day, he travels with customs colleagues or police officers in both directions. What escape are you talking about?! Did you even check with the border police?! He remains silent.“

L.D. has never been in conflict with the law (allegedly)

He also stated that the prosecutor cited as a reason for detention that L.D. would obstruct the investigation by destroying, hiding, or falsifying evidence in the case.

„But all the evidence is in the possession of the prosecutor’s office! What will L.D. do?! Enter the prosecutor’s office to shred a file, for example?“

Next, it is stated that he will influence witnesses, for which Pantović questions which witnesses are being referred to and that there must be special circumstances for such a thing to happen.

And finally, he said he would repeat the criminal offense because he is prone to committing criminal offenses.

„A man who hasn’t harmed a fly! He has never been in conflict with the law, neither Kosovan nor Serbian. He doesn’t even have a traffic violation. It’s as if he’s some criminal who constantly commits crimes,“ Pantović adds.

When asked if any international representatives or institutions overseeing justice attended today’s hearing, Pantović confirmed that there was a EULEX representative who showed a great interest in the proceedings and noted it down.

Ljubomir Pantović confirms that neither he nor those he defends at trials are restricted in freedom of speech, that his lawyer’s rights are respected, but when it comes to trials of Serbs, as he says, the decision is „already known: detention.“

„It all looks ideal from the outside, formally speaking. My right to say what I want is respected, the accused can say what he wants, and everything seems great from the outside. But the decision is known in advance: Detention is always ordered!“

Contrary to such practices in the Kosovo prosecution that Pantović and his other colleagues encounter, as they have repeatedly testified, Pantović notes that according to the law, the court is actually obliged to always impose a milder measure before detention.

„Detention is an exception, and a milder measure is the rule. Here, it’s been turned around. Detention is the rule, and a milder measure is almost never imposed. House arrest is determined in rare, rare, rare situations.“

Pressure to admit guilt

With the accumulation of criminal offenses punishable by high prison sentences, so that under such pressure arrested Serbs would be forced to admit guilt – as Pantovic claimed further, the imposition of prison detention rather than house arrest, lawyer Pantović warned of yet another additional imposition faced by him as a lawyer, his colleagues, and the Serbs they defend, as he claims, in the Kosovo judiciary: the imposition of high bails for release, even from house arrest.

„To get out of house arrest, a person has to pay 25,000, 30,000 euros, which, according to the rules, should last for a month or two. House arrest lasts, so it’s canceled. And now, such a situation has been created that those who have even been placed under house arrest, since they admit guilt, have to pay huge amounts to have their house arrest canceled. Terrible!“



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