Citizens arrested in Liberland after crossing the Danube international waterway.
Liberty Island, Liberland — At 19:00 local time today, three Liberland Settlement Association (LSA) vessels, in a joint maneuver, evaded Croatian patrol boats in international waters on the Danube river. Three women and one man, all Liberland citizens, successfully reached Liberty Island, a river island and part of the Liberland jurisdiction.
In spite of threats of long prison sentences and a history of maltreatment of previous Liberlanders in the custody of the occupying Croatian forces, these young Liberlanders opted to go ashore and raise the flag of Liberland on the sandy beaches of Liberty Island.
Shortly thereafter, Croatian forces, flouting international law and disregarding basic human rights, invaded Liberland and abducted the landing party. These four Liberlanders were forcibly transferred to Croatian territory, were deprived of their possessions and their liberty and are now being held in a Croatian prison. None of the four Liberland citizens ventured near Croatia, and it is not yet clear which crime the Croatian authorities imagine they may have committed. The LSA is gravely concerned about their well-being, citing the appalling conditions under which previous Liberlander prisoners were held.
“I am outraged at this unprovoked attack against our peaceful members. The government of Croatia, and the individuals carrying out these attacks are violating universally accepted norms of behavior as codified in the Geneva Conventions”
Niklas Nikolajsen, chairman of the Liberland Settlement Association, an organization working to settle and develop Liberland, is calling on Croatia to reverse its pattern of human rights abuses against the people of Liberland. “I am outraged at this unprovoked attack against our peaceful members. The government of Croatia, and the individuals carrying out these attacks are violating universally accepted norms of behavior as codified in the Geneva Conventions,” said Nikolajsen.
“The Croatian forces are treating Liberland as their own little fiefdom and seem to believe they can do with its residents as they wish, including arresting them for playing ball on the beach. This invasion into lands outside of Croatian jurisdiction to harass, abduct and imprison peaceful people, protected under the Geneva Conventions, does not befit a modern State and a new member of the European Union.”
Nikolajsen called for urgent visits by the International Red Cross to ensure that these prisoners are being held under humanitarian conditions. Previous Liberlander prisoners were denied food, water, basic sanitation and daylight, in violation of the Geneva Conventions. He’s further petitioning to human rights organizations, included Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, to recognize the plight of Liberland citizens in the hands of the Croatian occupying forces.
While Croatia believes Liberland to be Serbian territory, Serbia officially denies this. Liberland was, in fact, terra nullius, or no-man’s land, until being claimed by the people of Liberland who hail from around the world seeking to live in a society where protection of individual rights is paramount and government interference in the personal affairs of its citizens is minimal.
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For a background on the legal aspects of Liberland and its status as a sovereign country, see: http://liberlandpress.com/2015/05/media-fact-check-liberland-claims-liberland/