June 17th 2008 02:46:15 AM
While trying to figure out who the thug is here — the accused Albanians, or Montenegro — in addition to keeping in mind the Albanian track record for violently usurping land, please note that no one in the world would piss off Albanians if they didn’t have to.
TUZI, Montenegro-Ethnic Albanian leaders in Montenegro demanded on Friday that authorities drop terrorism charges against 18 ethnic Albanians, including four U.S. citizens.
They also accused Montenegrin police of “brutality and nationalistic insults” against the small ethnic Albanian community in the country.
The group were arrested in September 2006, on the eve of a key parliamentary election in then newly independent Montenegro. Authorities say they were planning terrorist attacks aimed at creating an ethnic Albanian republic.
The trial started in May 2007. Five suspects have been released from custody, 11 are in jail while two remain at large.
The leaders demanded in a statement Friday that the authorities “close the case and drop the charges … after 600 days of humiliating torture against the prisoners and other citizens of Malesia”, the ethnic Albanian-dominated area of Montenegro.
Vaselj Sinistaj, the president of the Albanian Alternative party, told the AP that “we will request freedom for the innocent men and a trial for those who committed the crime” against them.
Gee, that tactic doesn’t sound familiar at all. (See case of Flying Imams sue John Doe for reporting their suspicious behavior to airline crew.)
“This is a political process, not a fair trial”, said Sinistaj.
Among those apprehended in September 2006 were three U.S. citizens, Sokol Ivanaj and cousins Kola Dedvukaj and Rrok Dedvukaj. They had lived for decades in Michigan but were on a visit to Montenegro when apprehended.
Another U.S. citizen and the alleged mastermind of the terrorist plot, Doda Ljucaj, was arrested in Vienna, Austria, later the same year.
The proceedings have drawn international criticism of Montenegro for alleged police brutality.
Montenegrin authorities have rejected the accusations. Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic said recently that “it is the utmost interest of our government that this trial is conducted in accordance with international legal standards.”
Sources close to Djukanovic and within the judiciary said they expected the proceedings to end in mid-July.
The indictment against the 18 alleges that they planned to “use explosives and weapons for terrorist acts aimed at controlling … military posts, police precincts and other important facilities” in the ethnic Albanian-populated part of the country.
Police have said they have found weapons and explosives during searches in Malesia, close to the border with Albania and Kosovo.
How about that!! Shocking, isnt’ it! The benefits of Kosovo independence make themselves more and more apparent every day. Meanwhile, dingbats like this one use the ‘problem-free’ example of an independent Montenegro to make the case for Kosovo independence.
Ethnic Albanians make up about 6.5 percent of Montenegro’s more than 600,000 people. They have in the past demanded more rights for their community, but have never resorted to violence to achieve their goals.
Katrina Dedvukaj, the sister of Rrok Dedvukaj, has said her brother was innocent. She told the Associated Press earlier this week that the trial was designed to “send a message to the Albanians to shut up.”
“Montenegrin police picked Roko up in our old house, beat him in front of the kids, arrested him and made him a terrorist,” she said, using a nickname for her brother.
If there were nothing to the charges, would Montenegro get away with (allegedly) doing this to American citizens?
Some other reports on the matter, for background:
Montenegro: Ethnic Albanians jailed for alleged plot (Aug. 5, 2008)
Podgorica - A court in the small Balkan country of Montenegro on Tuesday convicted 12 ethnic Albanians, including four US citizens, of plotting a rebellion when the republic became independent of Serbia in 2006.
Judge Ivica Stankovic also convicted five other members of the group from Montenegro’s Albanian minority of possessing illegal weapons.
He sentenced the 17 defendants to prison terms ranging from three months to six and a half years for planning a rebellion and the Americans received some of the toughest sentences.
The ethnic Albanians were arrested on terrorism charges in September 2006, but the charges were later modified.
Authorities claimed they were planning attacks with a view to creating an autonomous region.
Ethnic Albanians comprise about six percent of Montenegro’s total population of 620,000 and are concentrated in several areas bordering Albania.
Twelve ethnic Albanians were sentenced to a total of 48 years in prison, ranging from terms of three to six years each, while several others were given lighter sentences.
All members of the group had pleaded not guilty to the charges and said they would appeal Tuesday’s verdict.
Montenegro convicts 4 Americans in uprising plot (AP, Aug. 5, 2008)
Four Michigan residents were among 12 ethnic Albanians convicted Tuesday of plotting a rebellion to carve out a homeland within the tiny Balkan republic of Montenegro.
The Americans of Montenegrin origin were part of a group arrested in September 2006 on the eve of a key parliamentary election in Montenegro which had just become independent of Serbia. Authorities alleged they were planning attacks on institutions in a predominantly ethnic Albanian-populated eastern part of Montenegro with the aim of creating an autonomous region.
Three of the Americans, Sokol Ivanaj and cousins Kola Dedvukaj and Rrok Dedvukaj, had lived for decades in Michigan but were on a visit to Montenegro when apprehended. A fourth American, Doda Ljucaj, was the alleged mastermind of the plot. He was born in Montenegro but lived in the United States and was arrested in Vienna, Austria, later in 2006.
“We are not happy with the verdicts. We will appeal,” Kole Camaj, a defense lawyer for the group, told reporters outside the court.
Montenegro has a population of about 600,000, about 7 percent of them ethnic Albanians living mostly in an eastern border region near Albania. Unlike their fellow-ethnic Albanians in Serbia’s Kosovo province, the Montenegrin Albanians have not formed a separatist movement or disputed Montenegrin government rule in the past.
The Americans were accused of helping to fund and arm the group with rifles, hand grenades and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. Police said they recovered a stockpile of weapons during the arrest raid in 2006.
The case has drawn international criticism of Montenegro over defendants’ allegations that the police beat them during and after the arrest. Montenegrin authorities have rejected the accusations.
Montenegro has had mostly good relations with its ethnic Albanian minority, whose representatives have been included in successive governments in the tiny republic in southeastern Europe.
3 Metro Detroiters Found Guilty in Uprising Plot Freed (Detroit Free Press, Aug. 6, 2008)
Despite being convicted Monday of plotting an ethnic Albanian uprising in the Balkan state of Montenegro, three southeast Michigan men are out of jail for the first time in nearly two years. Another remains behind bars.
Sokol Ivanaj of West Bloomfield and cousins Kola Dedvukaj of Farmington Hills and Rrok Dedvukaj of Troy walked out of a Montenegro prison Monday pending an appeal of their convictions.
The three were arrested Sept. 9, 2006, during a police raid in a primarily Albanian village in Montenegro.
A fourth metro Detroit resident, Doda Lucaj of Commerce Township, the plot’s alleged mastermind who later was arrested in Austria, was ordered held Tuesday pending an appeal.
Outspoken advocates for Albanian rights in Montenegro, the men were portrayed as terrorists trying to disrupt the country’s peaceful split from Serbia the year before. They were convicted on charges of “anti-constitutional behavior,” their Southfield-based lawyer, Joseph Dedvukaj, said Tuesday. He is a cousin of the men.
The lawyer said their release from prison is an indication the charges will either be dropped during the appeal, or they will be released for time served.
“That shows that the judge agrees with us and the case, and didn’t see any reason for them to stay in prison and suffer during that time,” Joseph Dedvukaj said. “My gut feeling is, way before anyone makes a decision in this case, there’s going to be a political solution.”
The Albanian American Civic League said the men arrested in the raid have been abused, beaten and denied medication and food. […]