Kosovo court finds 4 opposition MPs guilty of using tear gas


A Kosovo court has found four opposition lawmakers guilty of repeatedly disrupting parliament by using tear gas.

The four members of the left-wing Self-Determination Party — Albin Kurti, Donika Kadaj Bujupi, Albulena Haxhiu and Faton Topalli — were sentenced Wednesday to up to 18 months in prison. They won't be jailed, however, if they do not commit the same crime during a two-year probation period.

The verdict said in four parliamentary sessions the defendants had used "tear gas without authorization" to block lawmakers from working.

The opposition lawmakers since 2015 have used tear gas, blown whistles and thrown water bottles in parliament to protest a proposed border demarcation agreement with Montenegro. They say Kosovo is ceding territory under the agreement, a claim denied by the previous government and by international experts.

The agreement, which is yet to be approved by parliament, is a pre-condition for a visa-free regime for Kosovo citizens in the European Union's Schengen travel zone.

Haxhiu defended their actions, saying "we defended the republic, its sovereignty and integrity."

Political tensions in Kosovo remain high over the border deal, which is to be approved soon. Another issue is the opposition against a special court established to prosecute crimes committed during and after Kosovo's 1998-1999 war with Serbia for independence. It is expected to issue indictments against former independence fighters.

Wednesday's verdict comes at a delicate moment for the Self-Determination Party, the biggest single party in parliament, whose leader resigned recently amid party turmoil.

Next month Kosovo celebrates the 10th anniversary of its independence from Serbia, declared unilaterally in 2008 and recognized by most western nations but not by Serbia.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation World

Flu outbreak forces an entire school district in Oklahoma to cancel classes for rest of week
Flu outbreak forces an entire school district in Oklahoma to cancel classes for rest of week

An entire Oklahoma school district canceled classes Wednesday through Friday after schools reported excessive flu absences among much of the staff. >> Read more trending news  Morris Public Schools said Monday's absences were at 20 percent, and Tuesday's were at more than 30 percent. Basketball teams will continue competition in the...
Washington State University quarterback Tyler Hilinski found dead with apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound
Washington State University quarterback Tyler Hilinski found dead with apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound

Police in Pullman, Washington, say officers have found Washington State University quarterback Tyler Hilinkski dead Tuesday in an apartment with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.  At about 4:30 p.m., officers responded to an apartment to check on the welfare of a football player who did not show up for practice earlier in the day...
OPINION: Let’s not use euphemisms for conduct unbecoming a president

Now that Donald Trump has been president for almost a year, it’s time the media call his behavior what it is rather than try to normalize it. Here are the six most misleading media euphemisms for conduct unbecoming a president. 1. Calling Trump’s tweets “presidential “statements” or “press releases.” Wrong...
Haitians under protected status call on administration to process work permits
Haitians under protected status call on administration to process work permits

Thousands of Haitians living in Central Florida said they're just days away from being forced out of their jobs. Many of those worried are workers at Disney World. They were granted Temporary Protected Status after an earthquake devastated their country in 2010. They’re now finding out their jobs are in limbo, because their work authorizations...
Changes promised in wake of racially insensitive basketball jerseys incident
Changes promised in wake of racially insensitive basketball jerseys incident

Changes are being promised for Kings Schools in the wake of last week’s racist incident that drew national attention, but Tuesday evening district officials said details about those changes will come later. That was the message from Kings’ leader and school board members, who took the resignation of their board vice president in the wake...
More Stories