Belgrade: Professors Send Open Letter in Defense of Arrested

A group of professors from the University of Belgrade together with other people from the world of culture sent an open letter expressing concern over the announcement that the six people arrested in Belgrade will be charged with international terrorism.

The professors criticize the “political background of the double standards” applied in this case. However they pointed out that this doesn’t mean they support the act of vandalism at the Greek Embassy.

The signatorees referred to protests on 21 February 2008, years after the declaration of independence by Kosovo. Then the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade was substantially damaged by fire and one person was killed. Nobody was accused of a serious crime in this case.

In contrast, the Serbian state authorities characterize damaging a window with the help of two petrol bombs which failed to ignite as an act of “international terrorism”.

The signatorees say that the Criminal Code of the Republic of Serbia needs to be updated. They also mention the criminal responsibility of those who committed genocide and war crimes.

The teachers and public figures have expressed concern about the different positions law enforcement has taken on the two cases and with the current government policy efforts to improve their rating with the nationalist wing of the electorate. They stated: “This has the effect of fostering and strengthening the chauvinistic and extreme-right tendencies of our society.”

The complete text of the letter is printed here in the Serbian section of this page.