Bishop Teodosije: Arrests, threats, and maltreatment of detained Serbs are leading to greater conflict

Bishop Teodosije of Raška-Prizren expressed deep concern today for the recently detained Serbs located in detention units in Gnjilane and Podujevo. “Arrests and maltreatment of Serbs by the police are leading to an even greater conflict,” warned the Bishop, calling urgently for the de-escalation of tensions.

We remind you that the lawyer representing the detained Serbs, Mr. Vlajić, stated yesterday that it is virtually impossible to legally protect the accused because their charges are not legally substantiated, while the arguments from the Serbian side are openly ignored. The Serbian government’s liaison officer in Pristina, Mr. Pavićević, gave a concerning report today about the injuries suffered by the arrested Serbs from the Kosovo police and their treatment in prison, which will be made known to international representatives. According to Mr. Pavićević’s observations, the detainees were physically abused during and after their arrests and still have visible injuries. Such treatment goes against all legal norms of a civilized society.

Bishop Teodosije, along with clergy, will strive to visit the detained Serbs as soon as it is possible.

Simultaneously, Bishop Teodosije expressed the expectation that the EULEX mission in Kosovo will verify the indictment allegations against the arrested Serbs as well as everything they have gone through during and after their arrests.

In the current highly tense situation, Bishop Teodosije has once again appealed for the preservation of peace and restraint from all sides, condemning violence from any party. The Serbian Orthodox Church has firmly held the position that all existing problems must be solved peacefully and through dialog. However, it is challenging to continue the dialogue in an atmosphere of constant threats, arrests, and rhetoric that criminalizes all Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija and threatens to escalate even greater violence.

Our Church continues these days with prayers for Kosovo and Metohija and calls on the faithful to preserve peace with trust in God.


The Diocese of Raška and Prizren

Serbian Orthodox Church