news 10 Nov 17

Kosovo Aids Families of Macedonia Shootout Convicts

The Kosovo government will give 219,000 euro in aid to family members of ethnic Albanians convicted of terrorism or killed during the two-day Kumanovo gunbattle with police in Macedonia in 2015.

Die Morina
Kosovo PM Ramush Haradinaj at a government meeting. Photo: prime minister's office.

At a meeting on Friday, the Kosovo government said it would give 219,000 euros to cover the expenses of family members of those convicted of involvement in or killed during a two-day gun battle with police in northern Macedonian town of Kumanovo in May 2015.

“Two hundred and nineteen thousand euros are allocated to cover the expenses of families of convicts and those killed in the Kumanovo case… each family will be allocated 10,000 euros from the [state budget reserves],” said Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj.

Finance Minister Bedri Hamza asked for information about the families’ bank accounts, saying that the allocation of the money would not be a problem.

The Skopje Criminal Court on November 2 gave life sentences to seven of the 37 ethnic Albanian defendants accused of involvement in the two-day shootout with police in Kumanovo, while most of the rest got long jail terms.

Thirteen people were sentenced to 40 years in prison, six got 20 years, one got 18 years, two got 14 years, two got 13 years and two were sentenced to 12 years. Four of the 37 defendants were acquitted.

The defendants were found guilty of terrorism, either for participation in or assistance of a two-day shootout with Macedonian security forces that left 18 people dead, including eight police, in the town.

Many of the 37 defendants are originally from Kosovo and are former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army.

There were protests in Kosovo against the sentences, while Haradinaj called back Kosovo’s ambassador from Skopje for consultations.

“An international investigation would help the full disclosure of the truth,” Haradinaj said.

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