Kosovo Assembly deputy and the leader of the Serbian Liberal Party (SLS), Slobodan Petrovic was detained at Merdare border crossing yesterday by members of the Serbian MIA and interrogated by the BIA (Serbian Intelligence Agency). The Kosovo government reacted soon, condemning Petrovic’s detainment.
Serbian Liberal Party stated that Petrovic was travelling to Belgrade yesterday, but he was detained at the Merdare crossing for more than four hours.
„They asked me some commonly known things and what the media report. I asked them why they detained me and whether I was arrested. They said that I was not but that they had to talk to me. I told them to let me go if they had nothing more to ask me because my family was waiting for me and that I was on my way to the family patron day of my sister in Belgrade. However, he told me that he cannot let me go until he calls authorities in Belgrade,“ Petrovic told RTV KIM.
According to Petrovic, a BIA representative, who did not want to introduce himself, after a telephone conversation, told him that he had to wait until 16:00 and that then he could go „wherever he wishes“, RTV Kim reported.
Petrovic, however, went back to Gracanica instead of going to Belgrade as planned.
„I’m in shock, I do not know why they detained me for four hours, nor if I was arrested, or anything else. This is the first time this happened to me,“ he said.
Petrovic also said that he informed the representatives of the Government of Kosovo, the Assembly, and embassies of Western countries about this event and that he is expecting their reaction.
After checking his personal documents, members of the Serbian MIA told Petrovic to wait for the arrival of BIA members from Prokuplje. BIA members arrived at the crossing two hours later, after which Petrovic was forced to wait another two hours to get clarification from Belgrade on the reason for his detainment. Petrovic, however, did not receive an explanation.
SLS demanded answers from the MIA and the BIA to the question why was the MP Slobodan Petrovic detained for almost five hours in police premises at the Merdare crossing.
The Kosovo government also reacted to Petrovic’s detainment.
„The Government of the Republic of Kosovo reminds that this is not the first time that citizens of the Republic of Kosovo, especially those belonging to the Serb community and working for Kosovo institutions, have been subjected to interrogation, harassment and insults by the Serbian authorities,“ Kosovo government statement reads.
They called for the suspension of this practice and they expressed hope that in the future Kosovo citizens, of any ethnicity, will not have similar problems.
„Serbia should once and for all realize that such situations do not lead to good neighborly relations,“ the Kosovo government concluded.
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