The Aktiv non-governmental organization said in a press release that its executive director, Miodrag Milicevic, had been exposed to physical and verbal violence from members of the Kosovo Police Special Unit in northern Kosovo on Nov. 14.
"The incident occurred at around 9:30 a.m., in the vicinity of the Jarinje crossing, when executive director Miodrag Milićević was stopped by members of the Special Operations Unit of the Kosovo Police, removed from the queue, and during the course of questioning, was hit in the stomach by one of the officers. At the same time, Milićević was also exposed to verbal mistreatment by the same officers, who yelled at him and demanded that he 'shut up' and demanded to know why he didn't have Kosovo documents," the NGO said in a statement.
The statement notes that Milicevic had fully cooperated with the police throughout the encounter with police, from being stopped to being questioned, and did nothing to provoke a violent reaction from the police.
"A blow to the stomach is pure brutality and a wholly unwarranted use of force on the part of special police units, and is indicative of the deteriorating security situation in the north of Kosovo and out of control actions of police officers that threatens to deepen the crisis and potentially worsen an already collapsing security situation in the north of Kosovo," Aktiv stressed.
Aktiv, which does advocacy work and promotion of democracy and social dialog, warned that an especially dangerous time was coming with the approach of the announced implementation of the second phase of the Kosovo government's decision to sanction owners of vehicles with old license plates.
The Kosovo Police said in a press release that "allegations are untrue" that police officers assaulted Milicevic at the Jarinje crossing, claiming that there had been no incident or mistreatment. The press release adds that the officers on duty at Jarinje had asked the Serbian side if anyone had complained, and that the senior Serbian shift officer had confirmed that there had been no complaints of unethical behavior.