An axe-wielding metalhead YouTuber from Bosnia was arrested and reportedly held by police for 24 hours after criticizing the Catholic church in his country. According to the YouTuber, he's currently facing two-and-a-half years of probation.

Earlier this month, the Bosnian Catholic church held a mass in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The annual event pays tribute to thousands of pro-Nazi militants who were executed in Austria by the Yugoslavian communist regime in the immediate aftermath of World War II. A number of civilians also were executed. [via Al Jazeera]

Sponsored by the Croatian parliament, the Catholic mass has been held in Austria each May for over 30 years, but was moved to Sarajevo, reportedly due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was only attended by 20 people, but while the mass took place, thousands of protestors from Jewish and anti-fascist groups marched through Sarajevo. [via DW]

Haris Pendic, an anti-fascist activist and metalhead who’s known on YouTube as The Unstoppable Grind Master, made a video protesting the mass. Holding an axe (which he does in many of his videos) Pendic went on a 15-minute rant, professing that the church should have been burned and pelted with a grenade. However, Pendic says his videos are strictly performance pieces and that he places a disclaimer with each video clarifying they should not be taken seriously. The video has since been removed by YouTube for violating their community guidelines.

Pendic says he was arrested by police on two counts: Threatening the security of presidents and the Cardinal of Bosnia’s Catholic Church; and provoking national, racial and religious hatred and discrimination.

Pendic is currently awaiting to be formally charged with those counts before a public lawyer sends them to the state.

After reaching out to Pendic, he sent Loudwire the following statement:

Hello, my name is Haris Pendić, antifascist and anarchist activist and metalhead from Bosnia and Herzegovina, I am here to share my story of how 2 days ago I got arrested for speaking up against the fascist mass held in the Sarajevo cathedral this last weekend for the "victims of Bleiburg" where partisans killed the members of the Ustaša forces who collaborated with the Axis powers.

I am an antifascist YouTuber and I did a video about this event commenting on the situation and protesting against historic revisionism and the glorification of the Ustaša forces in Bosnia. My video was reported to the police by a far right movement called Urbana Desnica for supposed "terrorism and religious and national intolerance," so basically I was reported by fascists who accused me (an antifascist) for supposed "fascism."

They called the cops on me and they interrogated me and put me in prison for 24 hours. I will now probably face 2.5 years probation for speaking out against fascism. My name is being spread everywhere publicly on all sorts of news and media outlets (mostly right wing ones and mainstream media platforms) selling lies about me how I am a "jihadist" who attacks all Christians and all Croats. The media is lying, the system is corrupt, the fascists are being protected by the state.

They do this to em 'cause I am poor and cant afford lawyers and going to court processes. That's why they are destroying my life right now and using me as a sacrificial lamb to instill fear into the people and demonstrate power and show what happens to you if you speak freely against the corrupt fascist state. Please share this story. I need help and support from all Antifa comrades around the world! Thank you!

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