Kosovo court finds opposition MPs guilty of using tear gas

Kosovar members of parliament sit in the assembly during a session in Pristina. Four opposition lawmakers have been found guilty of repeatedly disrupting parliament by using tear gas. (Reuters)
Updated 03 January 2018
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Kosovo court finds opposition MPs guilty of using tear gas

PRISTINA: 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.


Roadside bombing kills 8 children in northern Afghanistan

Updated 22 September 2018
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Roadside bombing kills 8 children in northern Afghanistan

  • All of the children are between 5 and 12 years of age and were playing when the bomb exploded
  • Six other kids were wounded in the blast that took place late Friday afternoon in Shirin Tagab district

KABUL, Afghanistan: An Afghan official says at least eight children have been killed in a roadside bomb explosion in northern Faryab province.
Karim Yuresh, spokesman for the provincial police chief, says six other kids were wounded in the blast that took place late Friday afternoon in Shirin Tagab district.
Yuresh says that according to a hospital report, two of the wounded kids are in critical condition. All of the children are between 5 and 12 years of age and were playing when the bomb exploded, he added.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but Yuresh blamed Taliban insurgents who usually plant roadside bombs to target Afghan security forces in different part of the province.