Vetevendosje deputies Albin Kurti, Albulena Haxhiu and Donika Kadaj-Bujupi were arrested at around 10 a.m. today (Friday, Nov. 24) by the Kosovo Police Special Unit at the entrance of the Kosovo Assembly, where today’s plenary session was due to be held.
The arrests were made based on a court order issued two days ago by Judge Beqir Kalludra, as the three deputies did not respond to a summons from the Basic Court of Prishtina to participate in the session in which they were accused of using tear gas in the Assembly in 2015.
After the arrests, they were sent to custody, where they will be kept for one month. This has been imposed to ensure their presence in future sessions.
Kurti, Haxhiu and Kadaj-Bujupi did not respond to the court’s earlier summons regarding this case. According to them, their actions in the Kosovo Assembly last year came as a result of their scope of political activities, as they aimed to prevent the approval of the demarcation agreement with Montenegro and the agreement for the Association of Serb Majority Municipalities.
Kurti resisted arrest and eventually police used tear gas to stave off other deputies and citizens who had surrounded Kurti.
Immediately after the arrests were made, in a press conference held before the Kosovo Assembly, head of Vetevendosje, Visar Ymeri, labelled the arrests as “politically motivated.”
“This is a continuity of the massive and comprehensive persecution that they have started implementing against Levizja Vetevendosje, especially recently,” said Ymeri, referring to last week’s conviction of four Vetevendosje activists in the case of the RPG attack on the Assembly building last August.
Kosovo’s prime minister, Ramush Haradinaj, also spoke about the arrests from the Assembly podium.
“We feel that that rebellion brought good things,” Haradinaj said, adding that he and his party, AAK, were part of the coalition of opposition parties that opposed the agreement with Montenegro and the agreement for the Association of Serb Majority Municipalities.
“AAK’s stance was one of political opposition, rather than legal opposition. I think that the opposition deputies do not have any reason not to appear in court. They have not done anything that needs hiding. We were all aware in our opposition,” Haradinaj said.
Today’s developments affected the plenary session which was scheduled to be held today. It has since been postponed to next Wednesday.K
Feature image: Vetevendosje media office.