news 29 Dec 17

Kosovo President Could Pardon ‘Revenge’ Killers

President Hashim Thaci is believed to be considering giving a pardon to three former Kosovo guerrillas convicted of killing a family in revenge for their links with the Serbian police.

Taulan Osmani, Kreshnik Gashi
The Justice Palace in Pristina. Photo: BIRN.

Burim Ramadani, Arsim Ramadani and Arben Kiqina, who were jailed for killing the Hajra family in 2001, allegedly because one of them was a police officer under Slobodan Milosevic’s rule, could be freed on a presidential pardon, BIRN has learned.

The Kosovo presidency recently asked the Correctional Service to verify data on a group of prisoners involving the two Ramadani brothers and Arben Kiqina.

“Based on a request from the presidency, we have submitted a list of 10 to 15 people,” said the Correctional Service’s director Sokol Zogaj.

Hasan Shala, the head of the Appeals Court and one of the members of the presidential commission responsible for handling pardon requests, confirmed that the commission will discuss the list on Friday.

“I still can’t speak about names because these are confidential. The Commission did not give yet recommendations for the list of some 15 people,” Shala said.

Five men were convicted of killing the Hajra family near Glogoc/Glogovac in central Kosovo in August 2001.

The family died when their car came under fire from automatic weapons.

According to an EU rule-of-law mission, EULEX report, the father, Hamze Hajra, was targeted out of revenge for being a member of the police force under Milosevic.

Hajra’s youngest daughter was the only one who survived the attack.

In 2002, Blerim Kiqina admitted killing the Hajra family and incriminated four other suspects, although he withdrew his statement several days later.

Kiqina, along with Burim Ramadani, Arsim Ramadani, Arben Kiqina and Jeton Kiqina – all former Kosovo Liberation Army members involved in fighting Serbian forces during the late 1990s conflict – were found guilty of the killings.

Burim Ramadani, Arsim Ramadani and Arben Kiqina were jailed for 30 years, Jeton Kiqina for 16 years and Blerim Kiqina for 11 years.

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