Silvani Arsovic, secretary of the murdered Oliver Ivanovic, has been detained on suspicion of tampering with evidence in the investigation into the Kosovar Serb politician’s death, according to local media.
“She [Silvana Arsovic] was an official at the office of Oliver Ivanovic, and was paid as an administrator. Our suspicions are that she manipulated the security cameras,” prosecutor Syle Hoxha told Balkan Insight.
Arsovic’s arrest brings to four the number of people detained in relation to Ivanovic’s murder, which took place in January. On Friday, members of a Kosovo police special unit arrested three men, including two police officers, in the northern part of Mitrovica, while the home of Milan Radoicic the vice-president of the main Kosovo Serb party, Srpska Lista, was raided. Radoicic, who escaped arrest and is now in hiding, has accused the Kosovo security services of plotting to kill him.
Acquaintances of Silvana Arsovic have expressed dismay in Republika Srpska media over her arrest, describing her as a loyal friend and employee of Ivanovic’s.
“We do not know why she was taken to Pristina, why the hearing was not conducted in Kosovska Mitrovica and why she was taken away when she testified about Oliver’s murder three times,” Social Democratic Party official Ksenija Bozovic told RT (Russia Today) Serbia. Bozovic added that a technical expert concluded the cameras monitoring the party offices outside which Ivanovic was killed were turned off, with the investigators’ suspicion falling on Silvan of manipulating the cameras.
Silvan’s lawyer, Dobrica Lazic, said that Silvan will called up before the prosecutor today. “The detention will be decided by the prosecutor after the hearing. The police detention was ordered without any evidence, suggesting that there was reasonable suspicion that Silvana Arsovic had committed any criminal offense,” Lazic said.
Ivanović was hit by at least three bullets during a drive by shooting outside his party headquarters in north Mitrovica, a city tensely divided along ethnic lines between Serb and Kosovar Albanians. He was found seriously injured by a neighbor who called an ambulance that took him to hospital where he was pronounced dead a short while later. Ivanović, one of the most prominent Kosovo Serbs leaders, was regarded as a moderate who was given to criticising Belgrade’s policies towards Kosovo and unusually for a Serb politician was fluent in Albanian.
That being said Ivanovic was arrested in 2014 accused of involvement in the murder of 10 Albanians in Mitrovica in 2000. Ivanovic denied the accusations, but was sentenced in January 2016 to nine years in prison by EULEX judges. The verdict was challenged by the Pristina Court of Appeal who had ordered a retrial.