The Court of First Instance in Kosovo issued an arrest warrant for three MPs from the Vetëvendosje (Self Determination) party, including the party’s former leader Albin Kurti, on November 22. The other two other Vetëvendosje MPs on the arrest warrant are Donika Kadaj Bujupi and Albulena Haxhiu.
The warrants were issued a week after the same court sentenced three activists from the same party to 21 years in prison on charges of attacking the Kosovan parliament.
The three are accused of using tear gas in the parliament and also of preventing officials from doing their jobs. Vetëvendosje MPs have released tear gas in the parliament on numerous occasions to prevent MPs from debating or voting on legislation opposed by the party.
On the behalf of the three MPs, Albulena Haxhiu claimed that the judicial system is politicised.
Kurti explained last year, on one occasion when tear gas was used in the parliament, that he and his colleagues were using tear gas canisters thrown by police against non-violent protesters, which at the time failed to explode. Furthermore, he explained that by their action in parliament, he and his colleagues prevented the endorsement of a bill that was eventually rejected by the Constitutional Court: namely a bill to implement a 2015 EU-brokered deal to give the Serbian minority more power.
In 2016, the Kosovan government announced plans to buy a body scanner similar to those used in airports in an attempt to prevent opposition lawmakers from smuggling tear gas canisters into the parliament.
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