Kosovo journalist Valon Syla (left) in courtroom on Ddecember 7, 2023. Photo: BIRN/Laurant Berisha

Kosovo Court Jails Three for Attack on Journalist

Valon Syla welcomed the verdict of Pristina Basic Court, which handed two-year prison sentences to three persons accused of attacking him, and who he described as 'Islamic fanatics'.

 Pristina Basic Court on Thursday sentenced three defendants for the attack against a Kosovo journalist to two years of imprisonment each. The first-instance verdict can be appealed.

Lum Dervishi, Okan Hasani and Kemal Hasani were found guilty of causing light injuries to Valon Syla when they assaulted him on April 11 in Pristina’s Bregu i Diellit (Sunny Hill) neighbourhood while he was going home after participating in a TV debate.

None of the defendants was present when the judge announced the guilty verdict, which Syla welcomed. “Today, I know there is justice in this country … that protects the rights of each of us when we do not trade justice and have the patience and courage to wait for justice’s verdict,” Syla said.

“Police reacted and caught the fanatical assailants in record time and justice was rewarded with a deserved verdict,” he added. The prosecution indictment alleged that Syla’s attackers were “motivated by extreme radical Islamic ideologies”.

The court rejected Syla’s request for 30,000 euros in compensation.

Syla received medical treatment for his body injuries while his assailants fled the scene in a car. They were arrested the next day.

Speaking from Pristina hospital after receiving treatment, Syla said that he was assaulted by “three Islamic fanatics”.

Syla is CeO and Director of Kosovo news portal Gazeta Metro. He later alleged that the attack was likely linked to comments he’d made on social media about a local imam who received a Mercedes as a gift from worshippers on the day he retired.

The attack against Syla was condemned by the Association of Journalists of Kosovo, AJK, and European Federation of Journalists, which asked for an “urgent investigation” into the incident.

“This attack is totally unacceptable and is an attempt to hinder and undermine freedom of speech and freedom of media in Kosovo,” the AJK said.

and 07/12/2023 - 15:17

07 December 2023 - 15:17

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