news 06 Aug 12

Krasniqi: Kosovo MPs are Scared of SHIK

Opposition lawmakers are too afraid to sign a petition asking Kosovo’s Parliament to launch a probe into the work of the former secret agency SHIK, says an opposition MP.

Fatmir Aliu
BIRN
Pristina

In a letter sent to the press, Florin Krasniqi, an MP from the Self-determination (Vetëvendosje) Movement, said that so far he has gathered 27 out of the 40 MPs signatures that are needed to start an investigation into the work and legacy of Kosovo’s former Secret Service Agency - “Shërbimi Informativ i Kosovës” - SHIK.

“The opposition lawmakers who have not signed the petition so far have given me various reasons for not doing so, none of which sound reasonable to me. I have asked for their signatures repeatedly. I’m convinced that for some reason known only to them, they are afraid of SHIK,” he said in his letter.

The SHIK emerged from the ranks of the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, following the end of the war with Serbia in 1999, and then became the intelligence arm of the now ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK.

The secret service is widely believed to have eliminated the PDK’s political rivals during 2000 and 2001, although this has never been proven in court.

A recently published EULEX report suggests that dozens of senior political figures and activists from the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, were killed after the end of the Kosovo conflict for political reasons.

The report also alleges that the Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, which still rules Kosovo, pursued a strategy of killing its political opponents after the end of the war in Kosovo in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The president of the LDK, Isa Mustafa, has asked EULEX to provide the party with a full report, and shed light on the post-war political assassinations.

The LDK has accused SHIK in the past of being behind the assassinations of its members, but these claims were rejected by SHIK’s former boss, Kadri Veseli.

Krasniqi’s initiative was launched four months ago, and since then he has run into objections by the ruling PDK party.

Surprisingly, no MP from the LDK has signed Krasniqi’s petition.

The local media reported, some weeks ago, that Krasniqi got into a fist-fight with an alleged former SHIK agent, Bekim Haxhiu, who is currently an MP for the PDK, in the parliamentary lobby.

SHIK claimed in June 2008 that it had officially disbanded.

But a US expert on Albanian issues, David Phillips, released a report back in 2010 on the agency, quoting an anonymous source claiming that the supposedly defunct body was still receiving $200 million a year from bribery, extortion, racketeering, and protection services.

Krasniqi, a former gunrunner and fundraiser for the KLA, who was living in New York at the time, has been widely fingered as the source of the information.

 

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