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Drivers to face judges Friday, may go to jail

23. September 2011. | 00:17

Source: Emg.rs, Tanjug

Kosovo border police arrested the Serb truck drivers for illegally entering Kosovo, but also on the suspicion they were involved in setting up the barricades in the north of the province.

Regional spokesperson for the Kosovo police Besim Hoti told Tanjug Thursday that the 13 drivers, employees of the Euro Kop company from the town of Raska (south-central Serbia), who had been detained by police, would be brought before the court Friday.

Kosovo border police arrested the Serb truck drivers for illegally entering Kosovo, but also on the suspicion they were involved in setting up the barricades in the north of the province.

Hoti said police had information that the trucks used by the arrested drivers had been used to help block the roads in northern Kosovo over the recent days, but an investigation had shown it had not been the case.

Some twenty or so trucks were subjects of the investigation, noted Hoti. He said it had been established that the drivers of the 13 trucks had entered Kosovo illegally and that seven of them were now detained in the city of Lipljan, while three were placed in custody in the town of Podujevo and three in the city of Vucitrn.

The police spokesperson said the drivers would appear in court tomorrow, within the legal 48-hours deadline.

Police arrested the drivers at the customs terminal in the southern part of the city of Kosovska Mitrovica late Wednesday.

Kosovo Interior Minister Bajram Redzepi has told Tanjug that the drivers had entered Kosovo illegally and that they would have to spend up to 48 hours in custody based on a public prosecutor's decision.

Lawyer Ljubomir Pantovic told Tanjug that the drivers would have to pay fines in the amount of EUR 250 or spend up to three months in prison.

According to Pantovic, the Kosovska Mitrovica court, which has been transferred to Vucitrn, has passed no sentence for this type of offence so far, so that a possible verdict against the 13 Serbs would be a precedent.

The drivers were supposed to deliver a shipment to a Swiss company in Kosovo, in cooperation with the industrial complex Trepca Mines.

Director of the Trepca mines Jovan Dimkic said the company management had held an urgent meeting to inform EULEX, the local administration and the head of the Kosovska Mitrovica District about the case.

Dimkic added that Trepca had asked the EU mission in Kosovo to intervene immediately, noting the company's employees and the citizens of Raska had been greatly upset by the arrest.

"We got a promise from EULEX that they will try to take over the case from the Kosovo judiciary, as they are aware the arrest is politically motivated," Dimkic added.

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