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<https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/2-americans-2-ukrainians-arrested-in-serbia-over-drone/2018/02/19/8c107768-157a-11e8-930c-45838ad0d77a_story.html?utm_term=.6f8711605d7e>
  


2 Americans, 6 others arrested in Serbia


by Dusan Stojanovic | AP

3 minutes

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by Dusan Stojanovic | AP February 19 at 10:18 AM 

BELGRADE, Serbia — Eight foreign citizens, including two Americans and two 
Ukrainians, have been arrested in Serbia on suspicion that they tried to 
photograph and enter military facilities without authorization, officials said 
on Monday.

State TV said the U.S. and Ukrainian citizens allegedly tried to take shots of 
the military security headquarters in downtown Belgrade with a drone. The 
report did not identify them or give details, saying only that the Ukrainians 
are women and that they are all in police custody.

Announcing the arrest of eight foreigners, Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar 
Vulin said he does not want to prejudge the case that is under investigation, 
but added: “It is not a coincidence that such a large number of foreign 
citizens tried to bust into premises controlled by the Army of Serbia.”

Another American was arrested in Serbia earlier this month for possession of an 
unmarked gun. Pro-government media alleged that he was a former Navy SEAL and 
had planned the assassination of unidentified Serbian officials.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Sunday mentioned the arrest of a “group” 
of foreigners, but added that their case is “nothing especially serious.”

There is a mounting anti-Western media campaign in Serbia, which formally wants 
to join the European Union but is experiencing increasing pro-Russian 
propaganda.

Meanwhile, Serbian authorities have threatened Philippe Bertinchamps, a 
Belgrade-based Belgian freelance reporter, with expulsion for an alleged breach 
of “public order and national security.” He was initially refused his temporary 
residence permit without explanation, but after an outcry by international 
reporters groups, his visa was extended for a year.

“Given the extremely worrying situation of media freedom in Serbia, where 
independent journalists are nowadays the targets of physical and verbal 
violence and even hate campaigns by pro-government media, we believe that this 
case must, as a matter of urgency, be drawn to the attention of the Serbian, 
European and international public,” Reporters Without Borders said in a 
statement.

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