While I am writing this, I am sitting inside Box all by myself. To make it even more sad: outside it’s raining. I will probably be alone here for the next one or two months. Yes, our happy Livin4wheel stories are taking another course now. Why? My van buddy and boyfriend Crom has been kidnapped by the Croatian police while visiting Liberland. He will be in Croatian prison for probably 30 days, if not more.
Liberland? Tell me more…
If you are wondering what Liberland is and why we are here, just read my post about how we got involved with Liberland. That will clarify some things. The short version: Liberland is a piece of land that lies between Serbia and Croatia. Because of an ongoing border dispute between the two countries, Liberland has not been claimed by either country and therefore has been Terra Nullius for the last 24 years. To understand this dispute better, just take a look at this map. The yellow parts are claimed by both Croatia and Serbia. The green part with the name Siga is claimed by neither of the two countries. There is a lot to say about this border dispute, but other people can do that better than I do. Here you can read a detailed explanation about why the Liberland claim is legitimate.
Liberland will become a country with the motto “Live and let live”. There will be minimal rules and minimal taxes: perfect for an independent digital nomad like me and a freedom-addicted individual like Crom!
So what happened?
In May we arrived in the area and got involved with the Liberland Settlement Association. This is a Swiss organization, funded by individual investors, who will eventually build the infrastructure of Liberland. Now the biggest task of the LSA is trying to set foot on Liberland without being kidnapped by the Croatian police. Kidnapped? Yes……The Croatian police has by now kidnapped around 30 Liberlanders since the beginning of the movement 2 months ago. Liberland is NOT Croatia, nor Serbia. Still the Croatian police comes in there and takes every peaceful settler who is there. They do not care if the person came into Liberland from Serbia over water, or from Croatia by land. They will always accuse the person of an illegal border crossing and take him into detention. After the detention will follow a court case where there is no clear accusation and where the kidnapped person does not get a chance to defend him- or herself. The person will only be released after paying a ransom. This is clearly a kidnapping.
So, back to Crom….last week he went on a mission to Liberland with one other LSA-member, accompanied by two members of Red Cross Liberland. In the video on top of this page you can see exactly what happened. All 4 activists were violently taken by the Croatian police. Two hostages were released the next day after a trial and payment of the fine. Crom and Yoshi (a Liberland Red Cross member) knew their human rights and demanded a trial in their mother tongue. As the court needs some time to find appropriate translators, their trials will be held tomorrow. Both guys are extremely dedicated to the cause and will refuse to pay any fine, or to let anybody pay their fines. For obvious reasons they will not let their kidnappers earn any money from them. That wil probably mean jail time….
Tomorrow we will know how the story continues. I am already preparing myself for some alone-time in Box, which obviously has it’s up- and downsides 😉 I am parked not too far from Osijek prison, so I can do my daily visit to jail. Of course this is nothing compared to what Crom and Yoshi are facing: 30 days in a shared cell with 15 criminals… that will be very though and a very unfair consequence of just setting foot on a deserted piece of land!
Do you want to help? Then show Croatia what they are doing is not right! You can join the “Free Access To Liberland” movement and join or organize a protest at your local Croatian embassy.
UPDATE: Crom is sentenced to 58 days in prison. He can be bailed out, but refuses anyone paying his fine until Croatia can prove that his arrest was legal. Until now there is no proof that Croatian police has jurisdiction over the area. So, for now Crom will stay in prison as a proud warrior for Liberland.
*Video and video stills are by George Hooker and Martina Babisova