News 10 Mar 17

Kosovo Official Charged With Anti-Serb Hate Speech

Prosecutors filed charges against a municipal officer in Decan/Decani who is accused of using hate speech during a meeting with war-displaced Serbs and Montenegrins from the municipality.

Shkodran Nikci
Decan/Decani town centre. Photo: Atdhe Mulla.

The prosecution said on Thursday that municipal officer Arsim Cenaj has been charged with inciting hate and ethnic intolerance inside the municipal building in the western Kosovo town of Decan/Decani.

Cenaj is accused of being responsible for an incident which happened on December 1 last year inside the municipal building, when a group of Serbs and Montenegrins displaced from Kosovo after the war in 1999 visited the municipality.

Cenaj, a procurement officer who is in charge of coordination of municipal activities on the issue of missing persons, denied using hate speech.

He said that he only raised the issue of the fate of his father, who has been missing since the war.

“I am not inciting hate if I ask about the fate of the bones of my father and 86 other people from Decan who have been missing for 18 years now,” Cenaj told BIRN.

“Nobody was threatened, there were no physical confrontations, nothing,” he added.

On the day of the incident, Cenaj was arrested and then released after 48 hours in detention.

A day after the arrest, his municipal colleagues, including mayor Rasim Selmanaj, protested in front of the local police station.

“The indictment against Cenaj is unnecessary because he was asking about the fate of his father and this does not represent hatred,” Selmanaj told BIRN on Friday.

More than 1,600 people are still listed as missing - both Serbs and Albanians - as a consequence of the Kosovo war.

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