Seven Bulgarian and two Russian citizens, who live in Bulgaria, have been unlawfully detained by the police in Belgrade. This was reported for Bivol from the Bulgarian Falun Dafa Association. The incident occurred in Serbia Saturday night (December 13) before 11 pm Bulgarian time. They have been arrested in the hostel Big Hostel, where they were staying, along with citizens of other countries.

None of the detainees is wanted or convicted. All are practicing the Falun Gong system and are human rights activists. The reason for the visit of our compatriots in Belgrade was the upcoming Third Meeting of Heads of Government of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and China, which is held today, December 16. The initial idea of the Bulgarians was to join the Serbian Falun Gong practitioners in a peaceful protest against the genocide in China of the followers of this doctrine. Authorities in Serbia, however, have verbally notified the activists that holding peaceful demonstrations was banned, but without reference to a motive. Thus, after the warning of the Belgrade police, volunteers from several countries, who have arrived in Belgrade on Saturday, have decided to cancel all events. The Bulgarian Falun Dafa Association reported that they have contacted our embassy in Belgrade and were informed that our diplomatic mission could react only after 9 am on the next day.

Serbia last made headlines in Bulgaria in October. Then, Konstantin Simeonov, lawyer of banker Tsvetan Vasilev said that “the matter with the possible extradition of Tsvetan Vasilev was at dead-end” and it was “unclear when the Serbian Court will hear the case on the request of the Bulgarian authorities”. When Serbian authorities are not facing bankers, but human rights activists, they apparently tend to react instantaneously. Currently, the reasons for the detention in Serbia of our compatriots, who are after all European citizens as well, remain unknown.

The system Falun Dafa is known as Falun Gong. It is a method of personal development grounded on ancient Buddhist and Taoist traditions to achieve physical and spiritual harmony. The system is based on the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance. The practice consists of five meditative exercises. The exceptional popularity of Falun Gong in China and its over 100 million followers attracted the attention of the leader of the Chinese Communist Party, Jiang Zemin, in 1999. He ordered its total extermination by any means. For 15 years now, the followers of Falun Dafa in China are being detained without trial in labor camps, psychiatric hospitals, prisons, detention centers, and are being subjected to a number of methods of torture, including organ harvesting.

In December 2013, the European Parliament adopted a resolution that condemns organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in China. The document recommends to Member States of the European Union to publicly condemn the abuse of organ transplants in China and inform about it their citizens traveling to the People’s Republic of China. Such resolution is going to be voted in the US Congress as well.

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