Kosovo Court Acquits Police Violence Against Journalists

A Kosovo court ease the sentence to a police officer who is suspected to be involved in an premeditated assassination plot against an investigative journalist. A court in eastern...

A Kosovo court ease the sentence to a police officer who is suspected to be involved in an premeditated assassination plot against an investigative journalist.

A court in eastern Kosovo town of Kamenica, has brought a judgment by, which if the injuring party of the case does not appeal, the defendant an official of the Kosovo police identified as Faruk Ibrahimi will spend four months of imprisonment. He is found guilty for having committed a physical direct attack over the body of Kosovo’s renown independent journalist and war photographer, Vedat Xhymshiti.


Knocked-out photojournalist Vedat Xhymshiti, under the boots of the perpetrator's colleagues (other Kosovo Police officers into an in-door facility). (PrintScreen Picture).

Knocked-out photojournalist Vedat Xhymshiti, under the boots of the perpetrator’s colleagues (other Kosovo Police officers into an in-door facility). (PrintScreen Picture).

On Saturday evening journalist Xhymshiti objected the decision, stating that the “judgement is unacceptable”.  

Judgment of the Court of Kamenica, number P.Nr.. 83/2012 dated December 1, 2014, which reached my home address today on 20 December 2014 is not acceptable” he said, adding that “…this decision is as cruel and it is as murderous as the attempt of 14 January 2012, which aimed to assassinate me through martial arts techniques used by the driver of the chief-commander of Regional Police Station of Gjilan, officer Faruk Ibrahimi”.

The journalist appeared to be heavily frustrated, after having left the country for more then seven months in an attempt to avoid possible further ‘life-threatening actions from the people and groups of interest, who were subject to his journalistic investigation.

Xhymshiti, told ‘THE Frontliner that for the court case judgment, he will notify the country’s Association of Journalists, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, the International and European Federation of Journalists, the South East Europe Media Organisation, International Press Institute and the US Department of State for Human Rights and Freedoms.


Knocked-out photojournalist Vedat Xhymshiti, bearing a photo-camera on his chest and his PRESS Cards, while another camera has been cast-away during the attack. He is being dragged by the perpetrator's colleagues other Kosovo Police officers into an in-door facility.

Knocked-out photojournalist Vedat Xhymshiti, bearing a photo-camera on his chest and his PRESS Card, while another camera has been cast-away during the attack. He is being dragged by the perpetrator’s colleagues other Kosovo Police officers into an in-door facility.

The 2012 Human Rights Report on Kosovo, from the United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour mentioned Vedat Xhymshiti’s prosecution. The U. S — Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, stated that “on January 14, a police officer physically assaulted and beat photojournalist Vedat Xhymshiti while he documented events at a conflict at a Kosovo-Serbia border crossing. Xhymshiti filed a lawsuit against the government and the Ministry of Internal Affairs on May 14. Xhymshiti later left the country, reportedly after receiving threats” (see the document!).

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its European group, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) also called on the authorities to investigate the incident in which photojournalist Vedat Xhymshiti was allegedly assaulted by police while covering the public event over the second week of the first month of 2012.

It is not acceptable for police officers to attack journalists who are only doing their job,” said Stephen Pearse, IFJ Deputy General Secretary and EFJ General Secretary. “The authorities must launch a thorough investigation into this attack and hold accountable the officers involved.

the Physically brutalised Citizen, which is handicapped and was beaten brutally by the policemen. © Vedat Xhymshiti, for Demotix.

The Physically brutalised Citizen, which is handicapped and was beaten brutally by the policemen. © Vedat Xhymshiti, for Demotix.

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), condemned the then alleged and now confirmed police violence against Kosovo freelance photojournalist Vedat Xhymshiti. “On Saturday 14 January, the reporter was covering clashes between demonstrators and Kosovo police near the country’s eastern border crossing between Serbia and Kosovo, when he was struck by policemen. He lost conscioussness but was not hospitalised. The attack was filmed” stated SEEMO, adding that “Xhymshiti told SEEMO that he saw a citizen on the ground being beaten by policemen. He was about to take a photo when he was assaulted”.

“I call on the police authorities to investigate and sanction those who attacked Xhymshiti”, said Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General. “Vedat Xhymshiti was carrying filming equipment when the police attacked him. It was clear that he was a journalist. Beating a journalist is a direct attack on press freedom.” said Vujoviç.

This judgment, which finds Guilty Kosovo policeman Faruk Ibrahimi, otherwise as identified, personal driver of regional police station chief commander, is believed to had deliberately planned the murder attempt, which was an acting commitment through the martial-arts techniques, on 14 January 2012 targeting journalist Vedat Xhymshiti. The physical-strike left journalist unconscious, additionally causing a momentum of the clinical-death as unverified reports say, and later he was dropped away at a indoor facility without first-aid support, eyewitnesses testified.

“My colleagues had brought me to the hospital, whose authority had refused to treat me, as it was synchronised allegedly from the subjects of my journalistic activity …” Xhymshiti remembers the horrific scene of that frozen helpless freaky evening of 2012.

The decision, which ruled that officer Faruk Ibrahimi, should be sentenced to jail for only 120 days, is unacceptable, it was and will still remain a life-threat to independent journalist, whose investigations didn’t move further ever since his professional interest brought him and his family into deep life-threatening professional conflict with country’s alleged organised crime networks, which is believed to have been installed in some of the law-enforcement command authority.

I didn’t and I yet don’t know, if the witnesses testimonies that were given to me, are really truth, or not, I just started following a path of verifying their statements. Once I started it, immediately unknown phone calls, threats and intimidations attempts, showed their masked face” Xhymshiti told THE Frontliner editorial desk. “But, indeed I must first make sure that the officer and his chain of command, which are alleged for having ordered him to commit the assassination plot against me, to come at a point of becoming subject of the law-enforcement authority investigation, and the findings should be treated legally. Meanwhile in the aftermath I might be able to re-organise the path towards the subject, which must be journalistically investigated. There are dozens of people allegedly dead and several other subject to a possible human trafficking I suspect”  Xhymshiti stated for The Frontliner.

Court NOTE, that arrived through an Envelope at Vedat Xhymshiti's home address on December 20, 2014. (Download Court Judgement, Scanned Documents)

Court NOTE, that arrived through an Envelope at Vedat Xhymshiti’s home address on December 20, 2014. (Download Court Judgement, Scanned Documents)

However, despite his efforts to draw the attention of the Court panel, regarding the additional constitutional (guaranteed!) human and professional rights, which were violated by the then alleged and now confirmed perpetrator Faruk Ibrahimi,  the Court subsequently refused to take into consideration several other constitutional articles, mentioned below. But, instead Court panel, considered to punish officer Ibrahimi as the defendant which has committed the offense of ill-treatment only through the course of Article 164 paragraph. 1, in conjunction with Article 153 paragraph. 1, sub-paragraph 4 of the KCC (Kosovo Criminal Code), stating that the Court, under Article 4, 41, 45, 73, 75 CCRK (Criminal Code of the Republic of Kosovo), in conjunction with Article 365, 463 and 453, which says that ” Court judge the defendant Faruk Ibrahimi, with the judgement imposing a sentence of 120 effective days in jail… “

Opposing Court’s decision journalist Xhymshiti, sent a press release for the Kosovo media, saying among others that “…the Court has encouraged a murderer, who was trying to kill me on 14 January 2012.

Judge’s (Zijadin Spahiu) step, is a clear doubt that he is, or might be associated with individuals or groups suspected of involvement in organised crime networks, which have been the subject of my professional investigation. The panel, headed by Judge Spahiu have subsequently refused to recognise and consider over 10 constitutional laws of the Republic of Kosovo, which identify violations of those rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Judge Spahiu and his ‘court team are also responsible for the falsification of my testimony! They have changed my authentic testimony and refused to have it recorded as I have had stated it. Judge Spahiu should be investigated and called to justice” Xhymshiti ended his statement.

He said that alongside his lawyer paid by country’s Journalist Association Mr. Musa Dragusha, he will exercise his legal right and appeal to every possible organisation within the framework of the laws guaranteed by the Constitution, the facts are indisputable that the act of 14 January 2012, was a premeditated attempted murder and wilful as such. Ruling further that quote: “Police Faruk Ibrahimi owes me a life, so I want to make sure that my life-debt obligations that police officer Faruk Ibrahimi owes me, should be paid through the applicable laws”.

Kosovo war ended in March of 1999 after an extended NATO bombing campaign on Yugoslavia that eventually led to the Serbian assembly granting Kosovo political autonomy while keeping it within its territorial border. Nine years after the end of the war, Kosovo declared its independence, but its status as the self declared Republic of Kosovo has only been recognised by 108 of the 193 United Nations member states.

Kosovo is ranked 80th out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.


Pre-knocked-out photojournalist Vedat Xhymshiti, bearing a photo-camera on his chest and his PRESS Cards, while another camera has been cast-away during the attack. He is being dragged by more then one other un-identified civilian-clothed person, who deliberately sent him into the target scene. After having knocked him-out the perpetrator's colleagues other Kosovo Police officers into an in-door facility. (PrintScreen Photo)

Pre-knocked-out photojournalist Vedat Xhymshiti, bearing a photo-camera on his chest and his PRESS Cards, while another camera has been cast-away during the attack. He is being dragged by more then one other un-identified civilian-clothed person, who deliberately sent him into the target scene. After having knocked him-out the perpetrator’s colleagues other Kosovo Police officers into an in-door facility. (PrintScreen Photo)

The rights guaranteed by the Constitution, of which were violated by (attempted murderer from Police, Faruk Ibrahimi) KOSOVO POLICE Officer are listed below: Legal Articles from chapter of the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the Police Law number 04 / L-076. | Download Kamenica Court, Branch of Gjilan’s Basic Court Judgement Decision December 1 2014 |

  • Article: 23;
  • Article: 26 (paragraph #2);
  • Article: 27, against the torture ect..;
  • Article: 40 (paragraph #1) Freedom of Expression and collection and sharing the information;
  • Article: 42 (paragraphs 1 and 2) Freedom of Press;
  • Article: 49 (paragraph 1) the right to work and to select the working place;
  • Law for the Police #04/L-076;
  • Article: 10 of the Law for the Police, completely violated;
  • Article: 12, also contradicts the Article 19 of the Law for Police, respectively the paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of articles 19 and 14, (introduction of the police officer);
  • Article: 25 (paragraphs: 1, 2, 3 and 4.

None of the criteria set by law for the police, has not been met due to the action of police Faruk Ibrahimi, by what happened it can easily be concluded that the excess of the powers that are given to police officers in the Law on Police. None of Faruk Ibrahimi’s police actions were not compatible with the legal provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo.

All actions of the officer Faruk Ibrahimi, are punishable under legal articles of the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo and Kosovo police Law number 04 / L-076, therefore, I ask an independent court and jury panel to be set soon to handle the situation in relation to the concerns raised by the legal basis of the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo, and to take a decision which would be in accordance with the applicable laws of the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo, in order to separate legal justice for damaging party, which in this case is Vedat Xhymshiti, and to bring those responsible for causing the violations of his legal human and professional rights in which case is the police officer Faruk Ibrahimi, as Xhymshiti stated that it should not exclude a deep investigation of the chain of command who allegedly ordered the actions of policeman involved in the mission of attempted murder against the journalist.

Below is the video-evidence of the alleged attempted murder of January 14th, 2012.


 

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