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news 30 Aug 16

Vetevendosje Members Arrested for Kosovo Assembly Blast

Six members of the Vetevendosje (Self-Determination) opposition party were arrested on suspicion of terrorism after an explosive device was thrown at the Kosovo Assembly building earlier this month.

Die Morina
BIRN
Pristina
Kosovo police operation on Tuesday. Photo: Kosovo Police.

Police on Tuesday arrested Vetevendosje members Atdhe Arifi, Astrit Dehari, Adea Batusha, Egzon Haliti, Petrit Ademi and Frasher Krasniqi, a spokesperson for the party, on suspicion of involvement in the attack on August 4.

Weapons were found at locations where the suspects were apprehended during a joint operation with Kosovo’s Special Prosecution, police said.

The Special Prosecution and police told a press conference that there was evidence that proved that the group of six organised and carried out the attack.

Luan Keka, the police’s anti-terrorism director, said the evidence included proof that the suspects bought the motorbike from which the explosive device was thrown.

But Vetevendosje denied that those who were arrested persons had anything to do with the attack.

“This is a classic act of persecution against political opponents,” the leader of Vetevendosje, Visar Ymeri, told a press conference after the arrests.

Vetevendosje also denied that the weapons found by police on Tuesday had anything to do with the attack on parliament.

“Even in my house in Beleg there might be weapons belonging to my father and uncle who participated in the war,” said party secretary Dardan Molliqaj.

“But these weapons have nothing to do with the attack and exposing them is propaganda,” Molliqaj added.

The arrested Vetevendosje members have been beaten, claimed Molliqaj, appealing to the authorities and human rights organisations to monitor their treatment in police stations.

The blast at the Assembly came amid opposition protests against a border demarcation agreement with Montenegro, which Vetevendosje claims will result in Kosovo losing territory.

The party has called a protest against the demarcation deal on September 1, when it is due to be voted upon by Kosovo MPs.

Meanwhile, independent MP Ramiz Kelmendi has invited leaders of political parties in Kosovo to his villa on Wednesday discuss the demarcation process with Montenegro.

“This meeting intends to improve the human and political relations that have been exacerbated by the demarcation agreement. This way they can show that they are interested in discussing and finding the best way for a state agreement to be ratified through mutual political cooperation,” Kelmendi said.

He added that the leaders of both governing and opposition political parties, apart from Vetevendosje, have confirmed that they will participate in the meeting.

Although invited, Prime Minister Isa Mustafa has not yet confirmed whether or not he is going to attend.

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