Liberland Leader Arrested for Trespassing in His Own Made-Up Country

The president of the self-proclaimed country Liberland was reportedly arrested while attempting to enter the new nation on Saturday.

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May 12 2015, 9:30am

The flag of Liberland. Image: Facebook

The president of the self-proclaimed country Liberland was reportedly arrested while attempting to enter the new nation on Saturday.

Last month, Czech politician Vit Jedlička declared a disputed seven-square-kilometer patch of land on the Serbian-Croatian border a country, fashioning it as a kind of libertarian utopia with the motto of "to live and let live." However, neighboring countries of the micronation are apparently not on board with that ideology yet, as Jedlička was detained while trying to enter the region on Saturday.

Czech news agency HRT reported Jedlička was arrested and taken to a police station in the Eastern town of Beli Manastir, where he was held overnight. A group claiming to represent Liberland and Jedlička alerted Fox News of the arrest on Sunday.

"The president of the self-proclaimed micronation of the Free Republic of Liberland, Vít Jedlička, has been arrested by Croatian police for illegally trespassing an international border," the group said. "The arrest may have taken place on no man's land territory. This would raise issues on the Croatian-Serbian border and could start a new crisis in the Balkans."

However, a post on the official Liberland Facebook page seemed to dispute these reports on some level, saying on Sunday, "just note it was more friendly meeting than arrest."

"The president was released in the morning hours after a very friendly meeting with the police and a judge in the town of Beli Manastir, Croatia," the post said. "The president feels that there is a great degree of support from the Croatian police and judiciary and sees the arrest as a means for starting the talks with the Croatian side about opening a border crossing between Croatia and Liberland. Liberland has also got legal representation for the negotiations in the Croatian jurisdiction."

Jedlička's optimism comes despite the fact that the the Liberland border has already been closed off on the Croatian side, and Serbia is allegedly preventing people from entering the micronation as well. The area of land has been in dispute for decades and was previously unclaimed, though it was controlled by Croatia. Croatian officials have asserted they do not, and will not recognize Liberland as a country.

"The Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs does not consider claims about so-called 'Liberland' as in any way credible," the Croatian Embassy previously told Fox News. "Rather, it sees them as what they are—virtual witticism, and for those, we have no further comments to make."

The libertarian-leaning country has broad plans for the future, including a partnership with internet network collective HKfree for fast internet connection and plans to run the country using renewable energy and little government regulation. As of May 5, Jedlička claimed there have been more than 300,000 applications for citizenship.

Although Jedlička put a positive spin on his detention, the road block is the first sign that creating a country may not be as easy as sticking a flag in the ground and starting up a Facebook page.