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news 03 Jan 18

Kosovo Court Finds Four Opposition MPs Guilty

A Kosovo court has handed down conditional jail terms for four opposition Vetevendosje MPs, found guilty of using offensive weapons when they let off tear gas in parliament in 2015.

Die Morina, Labinot Leposhtica
Vetevendosje MPs during a hearing at Pristina Basic Court | Photo: BIRN

Pristina Basic Court on Wednesday found four MPs from Kosovo's main opposition Vetevendosje party – Albin Kurti, Donika Kadaj-Bujupi, Albulena Haxhiu and Faton Topalli – guilty of letting off tear gas in parliament on 2015.

None will go to jail as all of them received conditional sentences.

Kurti and Kadaj- Bujupi received conditional sentences of 18 months, Haxhiu of 15 months and Topalli of 14 months for using weapons and obstructing an official person in the performance of their official duties.

The sentences are conditional for two years, meaning that the jail terms will become effective if they commit another crime during this period.

None of the accused MPs showed up in court when the verdict was announced.

The MPs let off the tear gas in protest against plans to ratify a controversial deal border with neighbouring Montenegro, which allegedly deprives Kosovo of some land on the border, and establish an autonomous association of Serbian-majority municipalities.

Kurtin, a former leader of Vetevendosje, and Kadaj-Bujupi were released from detention on December 29 following their arrest on November 24. Warrants for their arrest were issued on November after they failed to show up in court.

In November 2015, despite then also being the subject of an arrest warrant, Kurti attended a rally and addressed protesters from the stage.

Kurti was then held for 30 days after riot police stormed the Vetevendosje party’s headquarters, clashing with its supporters. Around 100 opposition supporters, some of whom who tried to prevent Kurti’s arrest, were also detained.

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