Kosova: Joe Higgins MEP/ CWI call for end to politically-motivated trial against Albin Kurti

Court procedure reflects attempt to silence opposition to EU/UN’s colonial-style rule

On 15 February, Joe Higgins, Socialist Party Member of the European Parliament (MEP), and the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI), sent solidarity messages (published below), to Lëvizja Vetëvendosje (Movement for Self-determination – LPV) activist, Albin Kurti, who faces a politically-motivated court case in Kosova/Kosovo, under the auspices of UN/EU rule, which started on 15 February 2010. We also publish a reply to Joe Higgins from Albin Kurti.

Socialistworld.net

Letter of support from Joe Higgins, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland), Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI)

Stop the politically motivated court case against Albin Kurti, starting on 15 February

Full support to the workers’ movement in Kosovo

EULEX prosecute Albin Kurti for a "call to resistance"

Dublin, 15 February 2010

Dear Albin Kurti and comrades of the LPV,

We have heard about the coming court case against Albin Kurti on15 February. Joe Higgins, Member of the European Parliament has sent the following letter of protest to the EULEX and the UN administration in Kosovo:

Joe Higgins and the CWI demand an immediate end of this politically motivated court case against Albin Kurti

Reply from Albin Kurti, 16 February 2010

Dear Joe Higgins,

I am writing to inform you about EULEX’s restart of UNMIK’s political trial against me and to urge you to continue to follow the case, and object to it to the EU in Brussels. I am charged for organising a crowd committing a criminal offence; leading and participating in a group obstructing official persons in performing their official duties; and calling for resistance with force or serious threat on 10 February 2007. The maximum sentence is 10 years imprisonment. On 10 February 2007, Levizja VETËVENDOSJE! (Movement for Self-determination) held a non-violent demonstration in Prishtina, which was obstructed and attacked by UNMIK police, murdering two peaceful protesters and injuring more than 80 others. Instead of prosecuting the ones responsible, UNMIK kept me in detention for eleven months and commenced on a trial against me that was condemned by human rights organisations across the world for its numerous violations. The trial collapsed in February 2008 when Kosova’s lawyers supported my call not to defend me and distanced themselves from the political process.

The indictment against me is a legally absurd, political document. In December 2007, Amnesty International appropriately described the case as "politically motivated”. The case was initiated by UNMIK to avoid prosecuting the UNMIK police responsible for the deaths and injuries on 10 February, and to criminalise political dissent in Kosova. That EULEX has choosen to restart the case with the same political indictment and nine whole sessions scheduled for the trial, shows approval of this indictment, endorsement of the serious iolations in the case, and consent to the political motives behind it. Just like UNMIK, EULEX aims to silence and isolate VETËVENDOSJE!’s opposition to the unaccountable and unjust international authorities in Kosova which are continuing to deny us our right to self-determination. EULEX claims to be a rule of law mission and a dispenser of justice in Kosova, but by taking this case it shows contempt for all principles of fairness and rights. On the grounds of the numerous violations in the case, its non-existing legal basis and the political objectives behind it, it would have been easy for EULEX to close it. Instead, by eagerly pursuing the case, EULEX is unmasking the antidemocratic nature of Kosova’s international authorities and revealing that EULEX does not believe in justice for people of Kosova.

The first session of EULEX’s restart of the trial was held yesterday. I did not show up because I do not recognise EULEX’ undemocratic powers or its unjust judiciary, and because I will not get a fair trial by EULEX. Today’s court session again revealed the political nature of this case when the preciding judge decided to adjourn the trial for procedural reasons – not until 18 February as required by the law, but until 22 February. The reason for this prolonged adjournment was to avoid dealing with this political case during the visit to Kosova of the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton’s this Friday, the 19th.

It is important that EULEX’s restart of this political case is not allowed to unfold without objection, but that it is followed closely and objected to by international observers and promoters of human rights and justice.

Should you have any questions about this case, please do not hesitate to contact me.

If you will have the opportunity to visit Kosova yourself, I would be more than happy to assist and welcome.

Best regards,

Albin Kurti

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