DPA, December 20, 2001
PRISTINA, Dec 20, 2001 (Deutsche Presse-Agentur) -
Three Kosovar-Albanian suspects of a bus bombing which killed 11 Serbs and injured 20 in Podujevo in February were released Wednesday from United Nations detention.
Their freedom from detention centers in Pristina and Mitrovica followed a Kosovo Supreme Court decision on Tuesday ordering their immediate release.
Belgrade´s chief co-ordinator for Kosovo Nebojsa Covic strongly criticized the decision, charging on Wednesday that the judiciary system established under UN in the province was biased.
"The Kosovo Supreme Court decision is not new or unexpected. That body previously made an incorrect and unlawful decision. The Kosovo judiciary system is nationally biased", Covic told Deutsche Presse- Agentur, dpa in Belgrade.
The defense lawyer of the three Kosovar-Albanians, Tome Gashi, told dpa in Pristina that their release was justice coming late.
Gashi said his clients had been "political prisoners. They were kept in jail to convince the Serbs to take part in the elections, to tell Serbs: We have got the perpetrators. They are Albanians and former fighters of the Kosovo Liberation Army".
The suspects, Avdi Behluli, Qele Gashi and Jusuf Veliu, who were also members of the Kosovo Protection Corps (TMK), were detained for nine months.
The UNMIK administrator in the Kosovo, Hans Haekkerup, had issued an executive order keeping the men in detention pending trial, despite a lower court decision that they should be freed.
The Supreme Court said in its ruling, however, the prosecution lacked the evidence to try them.
"No founded suspicion existed in the case ... Beside the names of the suspects, no hints could be found on the whole documentation of the case so far that would indicate their connection with the mentioned case," the court said.
But the court found "suspicion exists against Florim Ejupi", the fourth and key suspect, who is at large. It said the investigators had discovered DNA traces matching Ejupi´s on a smoked cigarette found where the bomb was triggered.
Ejupi and the three others were arrested by NATO-led peacekeepers in March and April in Kosovo on the suspicion of being members of an Albanian terrorist cell that masterminded and carried out the bombing.
The case suffered a major blow three months after the investigations started when Ejupi escaped from a high-security United States military detention facility in eastern Kosovo.
"This case is an embarrassment," a senior UN source in Kosovo said. He maintained that foreign intelligence services reason for thinking that the three freed men should have been kept in detention, but that Kosovo´s prosecutor and police had failed to translate those reasons into court evidence.
An official of the Kosovo Peacekeeping Force (KFOR) would not comment on the releases, saying the case was a UNMIK matter.
After the terrorist attack on a Serb civilian bus (Feb 17) in which 11 people were killed (two of them children) and 40 wounded a few Kosovo Albanian suspects have been arrested by UN police. The main suspect Florim Ejupi is direcly linked to the circles of Kosovo Albanian organized crime, close to the former KLA and its successor UN/NATO sponosred Kosovo Protection Corps. Despite all security measures Ejupi ran away from the American detention facility in Camp Bondsteel. British Sunday Times reveals in its article by Bob Graham (July 29: British troops' error led to bus bomb) that "UN sources believe that Florim Ejupi had been working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). His trial would have been a serious embarrassment, they claim".
The detective who headed the investigation into the attack has said he does not believe the suspect, a Kosovar Albanian who is also wanted in Germany on manslaughter and attempted murder charges, left the American Bondsteel base unaided.
"My opinion is he did not escape," said Detective Stu Kellock, former head of the United Nations Kosovo Mission´s regional serious crime squad. "I thought a prisoner could not just walk away from Bondsteel. In my opinion he was taken elsewhere for questioning or something and I still do not understand why we, the police in the investigation who held jurisdiction, were not involved."
UN sources believe the suspect, Florim Ejupi, who was wearing a bright orange prison uniform when he vanished and was said to have cut his way through four sets of barbed wire fences with a simple tool, had been working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). His trial would have been a serious embarrassment, they claim.
Capish? Verstehen sie?
In the Balkans, Americans provide no protection to Christians from Muslim killers.
His three suspected accomplices were let go due to the lack of evidence against them after Ejupi's escape.
Words mean distinct things, Destro, and you have a habit of misrepresenting the facts when you attempt to use them.
Hey what happened to that Albanian terrorist that the Americans let walk out of Camp BondSteel?