Montenegro activist smacked with hefty fine for kissing cop

PODGORICA, Montenegro (AFP) - A prominent Montenegro human rights activist said on Thursday she had been fined 550 euros (S$883) for kissing an on-duty policeman during a protest.

In a stand-off with police during an anti-government protest in the tiny Adriatic republic last year, Ms Vanja Calovic took the policeman by surprise and kissed him in an effort to defuse the tension.

"The kiss had an effect, because the situation calmed down" afterwards, Ms Calovic told AFP.

However, unmoved by her gesture, police pressed charges and a court in Podgorica found Ms Calovic guilty of obstructing the officer from doing his duty while guarding a government building during the protest.

"I am surprised with the ruling. I have never heard a similar verdict neither in the region nor in the European Union," Ms Calovic told AFP.

"Instead of persecuting murderers, they prosecuted me for a kiss," she said.

Ms Calovic, a fierce critic of the Montenegrin authorities, said she believed the ruling was also a pressure on her non-governmental organisation MANS.

The court also recently fined her 600 euros for posting placards on the Constitutional court building during another anti-government protest.