Serbian Bishop Starts Hunger Strike on Montenegrin Borderhttp://www.pr-inside.com/serb-church-bishop-barred-from-entering-r211693.htm
28 08 2007 Podgorica_ A Serbian Orthodox bishop started a hunger strike on the Montenegrin border on Tuesday, after the authorities for the fourth time banned him from entering the country.
Montenegrin police have refused to permit Bishop Filaret to enter Montenegro, arguing he is suspected of aiding fugitives wanted by the UN war crimes tribunal in the Hague.
“I call on Serbia, Montenegro and the Hague Tribunal to launch an investigation concerning my involvement in harboring fugitives,” Filaret told journalists.
He added that if he was exonerated, he would call on the Montenegrin authorities to respect his “human, religious and national rights”.
Filaret had said on Tuesday that he intended to hold a service in a church on Montenegrin soil. “I have spiritual power and will fight for my rights,” the bishop said. Part of his diocese is in Montenegro.
The Bishop also announced he had lodged a complaint with the Montenegrin President, Filip Vujanovic, and the Minister of Interior, Jusuf Kalamperovic.
Both men had advised FIlaret to give up on his attempts to enter the country, as “Montenegro has to respect its international obligations”.
The Serbian Orthodox Church is the principal church in Montenegro, which gained independence in 2006. But it is locked in a bitter feud with the much smaller Montenegrin Orthodox Church. Most Montenegrins are Orthodox Christians but a significant percentage are either Muslims or Roman Catholics.
Serb church bishop barred from entering Montenegro
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2007-08-28 17:59:57 -
BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) - A Serbian Orthodox Church bishop launched a hunger strike on the border crossing with Montenegro on Tuesday, after he was banned from entering the republic because of his alleged support for U.N. war crimes fugitives.
Montenegrin police said Bishop Filaret was among dozens of people listed by the U.N. war crimes
tribunal for former Yugoslavia as helpers of suspected war crimes criminals wanted by the court in The Hague, Netherlands.
About 30 police officers stopped the bishop at the border crossing in northern Montenegro earlier Tuesday, prompting him to return later in the day with a pledge to remain until the decision is revoked.
«I did not want to hold a political gathering, I just wanted to pray to God,» Bishop Filaret said, according to the Beta news agency.
Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic said Montenegro had no intention of letting Bishop Filaret in. He explained that «this was the issue of our relation toward the international community, our cooperation with it.
There was no immediate reaction from authorities in Serbia or the Serbian Orthodox Church to the incident.
Bishop Filaret has been photographed in the past holding a machine gun. He has openly supported former Bosnian Serb political and military leaders, Radovan Karadzic and Gen. Ratko Mladic, who are wanted on genocide charges by the Hague court.
«I haven't seen Karadzic or Mladic for a long time, I don't know where they are,» the bishop said Tuesday.
The two are accused of orchestrating the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica.
Serbia and Montenegro had formed a union until last year when Montenegro decided to split. The Serbian Orthodox Church strongly opposed to the separation and has refused to recognize a self-proclaimed Montenegrin church.