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21 Apr 17

Kosovo Court Issues Arrest Warrant For Albin Kurti

The Basic Court in Pristina has issued an arrest warrant for the former leader of the opposition Vetevendosje movement, Albin Kurti, after he failed to show up for his trial.

Die Morina
Albin Kurti | Photo: BIRN

A court in Kosovo has issued an arrest warrant for MP Albin Kurti, one of four MPs from Vetevendosje accused of letting off teargas in parliament last year, after he failed to show up for his trial in the capital Pristina.

A judge told the hearing that he would issue the warrant for Kurti’s detention to secure his presence in court.

Also missing from the court on Friday were the speaker of parliament, Kadri Veseli, the deputy speaker, Xhavit Haliti, and two MPs from the Democratic League of Kosovo, Armend Zemaj and Naser Osmani, were were summoned as witnesses. The judge fined them 200 euros.

The spokesperson for Vetevendosje, Shkodran Hoti, told BIRN that this was a political arrest warrant.

"We consider this a continuation of the injustice that has been committed against them [Vetevendosje MPs] from the start," Hoti said.

Vetevendosje MPs threw tear gas inside parliament to stop MPs from ratifying a controversial deal border with Kosovo’s neighbour, Montenegro, and from establishing an autonomous association of Serb-majority municipalities.

Albin Kurti, Albulena Haxhiu, Donika Kadaj-Bujupi and Faton Topalli were all charged with throwing teargas during parliamentary sessions at the end of 2015.

Despite being the subject of an arrest warrant, Kurti attended a rally and addressed protesters from the stage on November 28 last year.

Kurti was held for 30 days in a high-security 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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