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news 29 Dec 17

Kosovo Court Releases Detained Vetevendosje MPs

The Pristina Basic Court has released Vetevendosje MPs Albin Kurti and Donika Kadaj Bujupi who had been detained on charges of letting off tear gas in parliament.

Die Morina
 Vetevendosje MPs in Pristina Basic Court on Friday | Photo: BIRN

The former leader of Kosovo's main opposition party, MP Albin Kurti and another Vetevendosje MP, Donika Kadaj-Bujupi, were released from detention on Friday after their arrest on November 24 on charges of letting off tear gas in parliament on 2015.

The court assessed that no legal grounds existed for keeping the two MPs in detention. No other security measure has been set for Kadaj-Bujupi and Kurti.

Warrants for their arrest were issued on November after they failed to show up in court.

In the case that accused Kurti, Kadaj-Bujupi, Albulena Haxhiu and Faton Topalli of using a weapon or dangerous device and obstructing an official person in the performance of official duty, the prosecution has since withdrawn charges of using weapons against Topalli. He remains accused only for the second offence.

The verdict for the four Vetëvendosje MPs will be announced on January 3, 2018.

The MPs let off the tear gas in protest against plans to ratify a controversial deal border with neighbouring Montenegro and establish an autonomous association of Serbian-majority municipalities.

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 in prison after riot police detained him when they 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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