Kosovo special forces beat a Serb and threatened him with a gun near Zubin Potok

Vladan Stevanović Babudovac
Source: Privatna arhiva

On Saturday, members of a Kosovo special unit beat Vlado Stevanovic, a Serb from the village of Bube near Zubin Potok, inflicting head and body injuries which resulted in 15 stitches. In an interview with Kosovo Online, Stevanovic recounted that the special forces beat him without cause, expressing fears of further harassment.

He described the incident, explaining that it occurred while he was en route to a friend's house to deliver a tractor part.

"The village where it happened is nearby, up there. I was heading to my friend’s place to bring him a part for his tractor. I encountered them as I was going towards his house. They stopped me, checked my ID, searched my car, and asked for documents. I gave them Serbian documents. They asked for a Kosovo ID card, and I said I didn't have one. I actually did have a Kosovo ID card, but since my car is registered with Serbian plates, I told them I didn’t have it. They harassed me over my shirt because it had a picture of a wolf and the slogan: 'Every scoundrel wants to kill a wolf', which is not a provocation. I told them it meant nothing," he emphasized.

Stevanovic was held for half an hour before being released. He went on to visit his cousin's tavern in a nearby village after delivering the part and having a drink with his friend. He was cautious due to the earlier encounter with the special forces, checking if they had left the area to avoid further issues.

However, around 8:20 PM, as he headed to the tavern, he was stopped again by the special forces.

"They pulled me out of the car, searched me again, and asked, 'Who are you following, who are you waiting for?' I told them I was not following anyone; I was just going to the tavern to pick up my cousin. They repeated the question, took my phone, and checked my call history, but found nothing incriminating. They thought I might be involved in smuggling or stalking someone. Then they found a picture of my Kosovo ID card on my phone and accused me of lying about not having one. I explained that I hadn’t shown the ID due to fear because my vehicle is registered under Serbian, not Kosovo plates," he detailed.

During this time, a comment appeared in a Telegram group they were viewing which read "Kosovo is Serbia," leading to further questioning and an escalation in violence.

"They started questioning me about what I follow, whether Kosovo is Serbia, and then they began beating me. One of them cursed, took out a gun, and cocked it. He held it to my temple while another officer quickly intervened, criticizing his colleague for drawing the gun. They hit me from behind; I ended up with eight or nine stitches in my head and four stitches on my lip. Four of them were there, taking turns beating me," he concluded.

After the attack, Stevanovic went to a doctor who examined him, stitched up his wounds with about 15 stitches, and took head scans. He added that he reported the incident at the police station today.

"Today, I went to the Police Station in Zubin Potok to report the incident and I gave a statement. They told me that the Police Inspectorate would contact me in the coming days. I am not afraid for myself, but I am worried about my family. I live here and I would not want to have problems or be harassed later," Stevanovic stated.