Suspect for Arson Attack on Kosovo Journalist’s House Detained
Kosovo journalist’s Alban Selimi’s damaged house in Fushe Kosove/Kosovo Polje on March 16, 2023. Photo: Courtesy of Alban Selimi
Pristina Basic Court on Monday ordered 30 days of detention for A.L., suspected for setting fire to the house of Alban Selimi, a staffer on Kosovo’s public broadcaster, Radio Television of Kosovo, RTK, on Thursday.
The garage which is part of the house located in Fushe Kosove/Kosovo Polje, near Pristina, was heavily damaged by the fire. No casualties were reported.
Approving the prosecutor’s request for detention, the judge assessed that if released, the suspect could avoid justice and even repeat the offence.
“Taking into consideration (his [suspect’s] criminal background, the court has assessed that if released, the suspect will repeat the criminal offence which he has threatened to commit,” the court said in a press release on Monday.
A.L. was arrested on Saturday by Police and immediately put in custody. When he learned about his identity, Selimi posted on Facebook that he was a neighbour, and the attack appeared linked to an investigation he did in November 2021 on a property worth a million euros.
Selimi said the suspect was his neighbour and a relative of those who had usurped the land he investigated. “Justice should have its word for the criminal, whoever he is,” Selimi said.
The incident was condemned by the Association of the Journalists of Kosovo, AJK, which said that “any attack on journalists is an attack on the public interest, democracy and citizens’ rights”.
“Such threats are totally unacceptable and seriously violate freedom of expression and impact the work of journalists to report in a safe environment,” the AJK said.
“We urgently demand relevant institutions investigate the motives for this attack and bring the perpetrator before justice,” it added.