Following an investigation conducted by BIRN in 2019, the Basic Court in Prishtina on Friday convicted and sentenced 13 out of 19 accused police officers for their involvement in abusing their official positions in collusion with the smuggling of various goods from the territory of Serbia into Kosovo.
Basic Court in Prishtina on Friday sentenced and convicted 13 police officers as in January 2019, the Justice in Kosovo show [Drejtesia ne Kosove] published footage featured in three broadcasts revealing how, at two gas stations and a retail store in Leposavic, a network of police officers accepted bribes of up to 200 euros to facilitate the unhindered passage of contraband trucks.
BIRN’s team, in collaboration with Serbian citizens, managed to document the smuggling operation.
In the captured footage, smugglers contacted sergeants and police officials at border checkpoints to ensure the smooth transit of contraband, including various goods such as livestock, derivatives, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and food products, from Serbia to Kosovo and vice versa.
The Court issued a total of 23 years of imprisonment for the border police.
Zvezdan Spasojevic was found guilty and sentenced to 3 years in prison. Biljana Nedelkovic was found guilty and sentenced to 2 years and 3 months in prison. Abdurrahim Haxhic was found guilty and sentenced to 2 years in prison, while Abdurrahim Haxhic, Albert Maxhuni, Milija Milunovic, Ramadan Mustafic, Jasna Durlevic, Zenel Bahtiri, Ali Pllana, Reshat Kuçi, and Vukadin Tomashevic were all found guilty and received prison sentences, ranging from 1 year and 6 months to 2 years.
In addition to their prison sentences, each of the convicted individuals is prohibited from holding public office for a period of 2 years after their release.
Meanwhile, Oliver Kuzmanovic, Dejan Spasojevic, and Dragosh Kompirovic were acquitted due to lack of evidence, while Zoran Radunovic, Blagica Tomovic, and Lubisha Vujinovic were also acquitted due to insufficient evidence.
Nebojsha Gogic had his charges dropped following the withdrawal by the State Prosecutor, and the security deposit of 15,000 euros was returned.
This verdict was reached by the judging panel, consisting of Chairman Mentor Bajraktari and members Kujtim Krasniqi and Musa Konxheli.
In May 2020, the Special Prosecutor’s Office initially filed charges against 33 individuals, the majority of whom were members of the Kosovo Police accused of abusing their official positions, accepting bribes, smuggling goods, and possessing firearms without permits.
Initially, the policemen were accused of taking bribes, but the Special Prosecutor’s Office withdrew from the charges related to taking bribes.
The trial is currently ongoing for 20 individuals, as 11 of the accused were separated from the process, while K. S. , who passed away and another individual admitted guilt for illegal possession of firearms.
The prosecution alleged that, for each vehicle involved, the accused received sums ranging from 20 to 150 euros, which were also shared with the officers on duty.
All of this was done to illicitly enrich themselves, causing significant financial damage to the budget of Kosovo.
27 October 2023 - 17:14
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