Photo: Atdhe Mulla.

A higher sentence for Zejnepe Berisha’s murder

Confirming a guilty verdict, the Appeals Court extended the sentence for Zejnepe Berisha’s murder, condemning her husband, Nebih, to 17 years behind bars.

In October 2015, Zejnepe Berisha was stabbed 20 times with a knife by her husband Nebih. Her brutal murder happened in the couple’s home in the presence of their  daughter, who was also injured in the process.

But although, the victim had reported her husband for domestic abuse multiple times to the local police, in April the Basic Court in Prizren gave only a minimum sentence.

The guilty verdict, which condemned Berisha with only 12.5 years in prison, was met with outrage. Protesting the minimal sentence, women’s rights activists demanded for the sentence’s appeal and review. Kosova Women’s Network, KWN, even hired the lawyer Fehmije Gashi-Bytyci to appeal the sentence on behalf of the victim’s family.

In August, the Appeals Court in Prishtina notified that the appeal had been successful, with the presiding judge adding 4.5 years to the sentence of the accused.

“For the acts for which [Nebih Berisha] is found guilty, ‘aggravated murder,’ according to article 179 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kosovo, and ‘light physical injury,’ according to article 188 of the same code, this court sentences the said person with 17 years in prison,” read an Appeals Court press release.

Meanwhile, the complaint filed by the defendant’s lawyer, Esat Guta, claiming mitigating circumstances and motives, was refused “as unfounded.”

“The judiciary panel of the Appeals Court noted that even though in this criminal judiciary case, the Basic Court has correctly concluded on the mitigating and aggravating circumstances regarding the accused, it did not evaluate them realistically, especially the mitigating circumstance ‘essential reduced responsibility,’ which it overestimated” read the statement.

The court statement also said that the brutal manner of the murder and the presence of a minor were circumstances that needed to be considered.. It also added that the Basic Court in Prizren had not properly evaluated the defendant’s history as a domestic abuser.

“Another circumstance that was not properly evaluated is the motive behind this criminal act and the prior behavior of the accused toward his family and toward his now deceased wife before he criminal act was carried out. From all this, it results that the sentence of 12 years and six months from the Basic Court is very mild, and therefore comes the decision for a harsher sentence,” the statement concluded.

21/08/2017 - 15:38

21 August 2017 - 15:38

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.