According to reports released Saturday, Vít Jedlička, the self-proclaimed president of Liberland, was arrested by Croatian police for trespassing.
“In the evening of 9th May 2015 [sic], the Croatian police arrested the president of Free Republic of Liberland Vít Jedlička,” the Liberland official website reported. “The Liberland president was detained on the Croatian territory without him having crossed the border and thus he could not have broken any law or regulation.”
If nothing else, the founding of Liberland was an interesting experiment, but to its founding fathers and some across the globe, it was meant to be more. It was meant to be a safe heaven for freedom and liberty. Prior to trying to start his own country, Jedlička made his career fighting for free market principles as a politician in the Czech Republic.
The premise was simple, to settle on unclaimed land and start a country based in classical liberal, or libertarian, ideals. Meaning the country was to have limited government regulations and laws guaranteed by a constitution.
Jedlička founded the country this past April on a small piece of land between Croatia and Serbia. The land is just about 2.7 square miles and according to the founders of Liberland, the surrounding area was disputed, but the area they settled on was unclaimed by either country.
When asked, the Ministry of the Interior for Croatia, which handles state security and law enforcement for the country, confirmed the arrest.
“We can confirm that Mr Jedlička has been arrested for illegally trespass the border between Republic of Croatia and Republic of Serbia, outside the official border crossings,” Jelena Bikić, spokeswoman of the General Police Directorate, told The Daily Caller News Foundation via email.
“He was arrested on May 9, at 18:30, was informed of the reasons for his arrest and of his rights,” she continued. “The Offence Court in Beli Manastir found him guilty and he was penalized with 2.400,00 kunas [$353.84] fine.”
Liberland officials have disputed the charges and say some media outlets are already getting details of the arrest wrong.
“Some media have incorrectly reported that the president was arrested for illegally crossing the border of the Republic of Croatia outside border crossing,” the Liberland website said. “It is also not true, as some media have reported, that the Liberland territory is not no man’s land as it is allegedly claimed by both neighbouring countries, Croatia and Serbia.”
“If the land was claimed by Croatia, their police could not arrest people for any illegal border crossing,” it continued. “Serbia does not claim the land either as the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated.”
Prior to the arrest, Croatian authorities made clear their government did not recognize Liberland as a legitimate nation.
“The Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs does not consider claims about so-called ‘Liberland’ as in any way credible,” officials for the Croatian Embassy in Washington D.C. told Fox News. “Rather, it sees them as what they are – virtual witticism, and for those, we have no further comments to make.”
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