Kurti: Freedom to Drink Coffee?

The saga that is Albin Kurti continues.  In an interesting article published by Vetevendosje, of which many think Albin Kurti is the leader of, the group attacks the ruling keeping Kurti in house detention.  According to the group, the new conditions of his house arrest, which allows for free movement outside the house from 10:00 to 7:00 p.m., is simply the “freedom to drink coffee.”

I’m not here to challenge or criticize people’s drinking habits, but I hope Kurti — the intellectual activist to some, to others the babbling polemic — is not spending his time drinking coffee for 9 hours a day.  The macchiatos are very nice in Kosovo, but really, how many cups can a man drink in a day?

Interestingly, as with many articles, it is what they don’t include that offers the most tidbits of information.  Although the article below is a segment of a larger article about other issues (including his “forbidden speech”), I am informed by at least two independent trial observers that the following exchange took place between Kurti and the court:

Court: We are inclined to release you from house detention completely if you promise to return to court.

Kurti: I can’t make the promise to return to court.

Court: You don’t want to promise to return to court?  Do you understand that we will release you from house detention and you can be free to come and go as you please so long as you promise to return to court?

Kurti: I made my position very clear.

Court: I want to be clear.  Do you understand that we will release you, no house detention, nothing, if you promise to return to court?

Kurti: I don’t promise.

I think the above-exchange gives the below article a bit more context.  One has to ask why the fact that Kurti rejected the court’s offer to release him carte blanche was not included at all.

Freedom to drink coffee  

In this judicial session, the Italian Judge Maurizio Salustro decided that Albin should remain in house arrest but with lighter conditions, allowing him the possibility to go outside from 10:00 to 19:00. The rest of the time, police will remain at the door of his apartment. In addition, every day when there is a trial session, Albin will be under 24 hour house arrest again with police at the door as is now. It is clear that this softening of Judge Salustro comes as a result of citizens’ pressure and the increasing awareness of people about the control of Albin’s isolation from above. UNMIK through Salustro’s new decision wants to fill the titles of newspapers with the deceptive phrase ‘Albin is released!’ and thus to manage people’s discontent. Freedom for nine hours a day for Albin is just the freedom to drink coffee. Albin is as free, as Kosova is independent.



3 thoughts on “Kurti: Freedom to Drink Coffee?

  1. Dear Sir,
    Regarding your blog on Albin Kurti’s latest trial.
    The issue of Albin Kurti’s extension of house arrest was widely commented on in the Kosova media immediately after the trial. The reason for his refusal to promise to obey the court’s instructions is because he does not recognize the system in Kosova and in particular the court system which is directed and controlled by the executive, which is UNMIK, and thus cannot give him a fair trial. This has been his consistent position, and his response in this trial session is nothing new.
    I am interested in where you found this transcript of the court records?

  2. Alex,

    The issue of Kurti’s extension of house arrest was widely commented in the Kosova media. However, barely any mention was made of the court’s insistence of lifting all measures if Kurti promised to return. Of course, as you note, Kurti’s failure to promise stems from his failure to recognize the system. Or perhaps it’s just his insistence to stay in the media.

    I think one of the strange things and to focus on is why UNMIK and the Department of Justice have backtracked on their position on Kurti? At first, he was detained in jail. Then house arrest. Now release? The positions seem very arbitrary.

    As for the transcript, as I think I may have mentioned in the blog (I may be wrong!), the quoted passage is not actually the ‘actual transcript.’ It was reported to me by journalists who were there at court on that particular day. If I made it seem like the “actual transcript,” I do apologize for any confusion.

    Thanks Alex for your comment.

    Mr. Cheeseburger 9000

  3. The tragedy of Croatia, Bosnia and Kosova, clearly indicates that many post World War I mistakes must be rectified. In order for all of Europe’s peoples to live in peace and harmony, the political, social and economic structures must be addressed. The recognition of Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, and Kosova as independent states is a step in that direction. Recent events in these countries further serve to demonstrate, that, in the final analysis, neither hostile political agendas, military action, economic pressures nor lack of Western support can prevent people from exercising their right to self-determination. It has become equally obvious that the solution to the region’s minority problem is a sine qua, non for achieving lasting stability and peace. And yet, while the approximately half a million Hungarians of ex-Yugoslavia face discrimination, persecution, violence and even genocide, their plight receives little attention from those who claim to have an outstanding human rights records. In the interest of peace, the international community must insist that minority rights be respected everywhere, including Serbia, Vojvodina and Preshevo Valley, and not only in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo, where the question was regarded as a prerequisite to being recognized as an independent State. The horror for these people started since 1912, when Sanjak Novi Pazar, abruptly was separated from Kosova Vilyaet and handed over to Serbia and Montenegro by the great powers.
    At the end of the Balkan wars, and the First World War, the Illyrians, people who speak a language that Albanian understand, were divided between a number of different states: Albania, Greece and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (which became the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929). Only 800000 of them were given 28000 square km to live, the so-called Albania. On 1918 Kosova was brutally invaded by Franco-Serbian troops, occupied and later was allocated to Yugoslavia. In the inter-war period the Yugoslav government operated a policy of Serb and Montenegrin immigration into Kosova, which was resisted not only by the majority Dardanian population, but also by many of the indigenous Slav inhabitants. On 1999 Serb Troops and later Franko- Serbian forces expelled most of Kosovars from North Kosova, and replaced them with Serb Colons. This situation, morally, legally, politically is unacceptable, and jeopardizes the Existence of New Born, Republic of Kosova.
    In fact, the Mitrovica Serbs have repeatedly failed to demonstrate the ability to cope with the fundamental ideas and concepts of our times. All that represents a Value for the international community is utterly meaningless to them; Humanism, Human Rights, the right of a nation to self-determination, national independence, freedom, democracy, equity, equality among the citizens of a country, and among the various nations, justice and fair treatment of the minorities, ethnic and religious groups, and last but not least, religious tolerance, are all unknown to them. Even worse, their political leaders give long speeches to disapprove of all these globally accepted values.
    The Serbian chauvinism and irredentism must not be tolerated, and for a certain period Serbia and the Serbs in Kosova, Bosnia and Croatia should be placed under international tutelage that will set among them the foundations of a new tolerant Serbian approach to the adjacent nations and religions. Today´s Serbs should be viewed as 1945 Germans for having tolerated an unspeakably racist regime, and they must be dealt with accordingly. Courts of Justice may certainly contribute to world peace greatly, but in the end, Peace presupposes a Culture for Peace.

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