Yesterday around 15:00, Kosovo police has arrested Serbian-monthly newspaper Jedinstvo journalist Sonja Ivkovic from Novo Brdo, Serbian media report. After several hours she was released, while her vehicle was kept, RTS said.
Jedinstvo Editorial Board said in a statement that Sonja Ivkovic was arrested on the Prekovce-Novo Brdo way, while carrying out the latest Jedinstvo edition to the Serbs living in the surrounding villages.
“Kosovo police arrested journalist Ivkovic as a criminal, handcuffed her and took her to the police station in Gnjilane. After keeping her there for several hours, journalist Sonja Ivkovic was released, however, her vehicle was kept by the Kosovo police,” the statement further said.
Jedinstvo Editorial Board in the strongest terms condemned the arrest and detention of Ivkovic, who has been working for the newspaper over the last 25 years and is known as a highly professional.
“We doubt that this arrest has a political background, and that our journalist was arrested mainly because of her work, respectively presenting the truth in her articles about the hard life of Serbs in Kosovo Pomoravlje as well as about forging and seizing the Serbian history in Kosovo and Metohija,” the statement said.
Jedinstvo Editorial Board urged all journalists’ associations and institutions, both domestic and international, to condemn this act that is directly aimed to threaten and intimidate journalist Ivkovic and all Serbian journalists and media in Kosovo which are presenting the truth, and to hold responsible members of the Kosovo police who arrested, detained and mistreated the journalist Sonja Ivkovic.
Office for Kosovo and Metohija condemned the arrest, saying the Serbs are being denied the right to opinion. Director of the Office, Marko Djuric said he was “appalled by the way how Kosovo police treated the Serbian journalist,” adding that he expects “international organizations and professional associations to react in order to guarantee the basic human and professional rights to the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija”.
Association of Journalists of Serbia (UNS) and its branch in Kosovo (DNKiM) asked that those who used the force while arresting Sonja Ivkovic be held accountable.
The journalists’ associations requested “that internal control of the police and EULEX administration examine all the circumstances of the arrest of Sonja Ivkovic, as well as to determine the responsibility of the customs officials who first stopped and searched her vehicle and then called the police”.
Meanwhile, KoSSev portal reports that Kosovo police said Ivkovic was arrested because she was driving the car under the influence of alcohol. Ivkovic refuted this, saying political background stands behind her yesterday’s arrest, adding a brutal attitude was exerted upon her. She also said that customs officers stopped her first and not the traffic police. According to KoSSev both sides agreed on one thing, Ivkovic refused to take an alcohol-test. Ivkovic said she refused to take the test because the request was politically motivated.