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.


Indonesian mob slaughters ‘hundreds’ of crocs in revenge attack

Updated 1 min ago
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Indonesian mob slaughters ‘hundreds’ of crocs in revenge attack

  • The victim, identified as 48-year-old Sugito, was bitten on the leg and then fatally struck
  • The mob headed to the crocodile farm armed with knives, machetes and shovels

SORONG: An angry mob has slaughtered nearly 300 crocodiles in Indonesia after a local man was killed by one of the reptiles, authorities said Monday.
The revenge killing happened Saturday in Papua province following the funeral of the man, who perished when he fell into an enclosure at a crocodile farm while looking for grass to feed his livestock, police and conservation officials said.
The victim, identified as 48-year-old Sugito, was bitten on the leg and then fatally struck with a tail of one of the crocodiles, which are a protected species, they said.
Sugito’s relatives and local residents, angry over the farm’s location near a residential area, marched to the local police station, authorities said.
Local conservation agency head Bassar Manulang said they were told that the farm had agreed to pay compensation.
“We made an agreement with the victim’s family and conveyed our condolences,” he added.
But the mob, which numbered in the “hundreds,” was not satisfied and headed to the crocodile farm armed with knives, machetes and shovels which they used to slaughter some 292 crocs, from four-inch-long babies to two-meter adults, authorities said.
Outnumbered police and conservation agency officials said they were unable to stop the grisly attack.
Authorities said they are investigating and may lay criminal charges.
“For now we are still questioning the witnesses,” said Dewa Made Sidan Sutrahna, the police chief in Papua’s Sorong district.
The Indonesian archipelago is home to a vast array of wildlife, including several species of crocodile that regularly attack and kill humans.
In March authorities in on the Indonesian half of Borneo island shot and killed a six-meter long crocodile after it ate a local palm plantation worker.
Two years ago, a Russian tourist was killed by a crocodile in the Raja Ampat islands, a popular diving site in the east of the archipelago.