Hasan Abazi Released from Serbian Jail

Posted on April 22, 2012

Serbian Court Releases Kosovo Trade Unionist

Hasan Abazi was released from custody after his family paid 20,000 euro in bail and the veteran trade unionist has since crossed the border, heading home.

Video: Press Briefing Hasan and Haki Abazi

News Story below by Fatmir Aliu  at Balkans Insight

A court in Vranje on Friday released Hasan Abazi, a veteran trade unionist from Kosovo, on bail, family members confirmed to BIRN.

The 65-year-old President of the Metalworkers Union of Kosovo, according to his son Haki, was released after depositing 20,000 euro at the court.

Serbian border police detained him on March 28 on an arrest warrant issued in 2005 under clause 315 of the Serbian Penal Code, which deals with “crimes against the constitution and security of Republic of Serbia”.

After his arrest, the Serbian Interior Minister, Ivica Dacic, said that the arrest was in retaliation for the earlier arrest of four Serbs in Kosovo.

Kosovo police arrested the men for allegedly carrying material to be used for Serbian local elections on May 6 – elections that Pristina has vowed to prevent.

Dacic said acts of retaliation were not in Serbia’s interest but he had no choice. “Serbian police did not wish to take this approach, but the situation obviously could no go on without retaliation,” he said.

Haki Abazi, who is program director for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund for the Western Balkans, told BIRN that his father had “crossed the border and is inside Kosovo, heading back home.”

Hasan Abazi was a political activist in the 1990s in Kosovo and twice served in Ibrahim Rugova’s unofficial parallel parliament, when Serbia ruled Kosovo.

He was arrested while travelling with another trade unionist from Kosovo, Izet Mustafa, on their way to a European trade union conference in Croatia.

Several local and international rights organizations condemned the “retaliatory” arrest of the trade unionist, also expressing concern about the apparently political motives of both the Serbian and Kosovo authorities in arresting each other’s citizens.

Abazi’s arrest came after Serbia and Kosovo signed an agreement of agreement on freedom of movement, including Kosovo Albanians travelling into Serbia.

The agreement came into force in December 2011 and was one of the EU’s preconditions for granting Serbia candidate country status.

Posted in: Kosovo