Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Serbian Bishop Starts Hunger Strike on Montenegrin Border

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.


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