ISSN 2330-717X

Kosovo Orders 30 Days’ Detention For Pro-Iranian Militant

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By Perparim Isufi

A court in Pristina on Thursday sentenced Ikballe Berisha- Huduti to 30 days in detention after she posted comments on Facebook calling for unspecified “revenge” after the US assassinated Iranian General Qassem Suleimani.

The judge ruled that Berisha-Huduti’s comments on Facebook on January 4 represented advocacy for “terrorist acts”. The court also said it suspected that if she was released, “she could flee with the aim of escaping criminal responsibility”.

Kosovo Police detained the militant supporter of Iran on Tuesday after she called for revenge “without borders” for the killing of Suleimani in a US airstrike. Her posts described revenge an “obligation”.

She deleted the post when it went viral in Kosovo – but by then the authorities had moved in, arresting her for publicly inciting violence.

The official Islamic Community in the mainly Muslim country, the BIK, in a statement issued on Tuesday denied that Berisha-Huduti ever worked for them, and added that her remarks were not to be seen as truly Islamic.

The BIK added that it was clear that she was also a follower of the Shia tradition within Islam, “which was unknown among us before”. [Almost all Kosovo Muslims are Sunni. The Shia tradition is predominant in Iran and Iraq.]

Kosovo’s staunchly pro-American leadership has backed the controversial action ordered by President Donald Trump, as have the equally pro-American leaders of neighbouring Albania.

Berisha-Huduti has been known to the security services since 2015, when a police operation raided NGOs linked to Iran as a part of a strategy to counter religious extremism.

In 2016, an Islamic organisation she had founded was closed, although no charges were pressed.

She has remained a strong supporter of the more hard-line anti-American elements in Iran, and has a public photo on her Facebook account of the former hard-line president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Balkan Insight

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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