Paris, France – Kosovo’s former Prime Minister and former KLA Commander Ramush Haradinaj who was arrested in France on January 4th has been released by a French Court this morning in Paris on bail.
The court has ordered that Haradinaj stays in Strasbourg waiting for a decision on what France plans to do on Serbia’s extradition request.
Haradinaj has accused French authorities of playing politics at the hands of Serbia. “All of this is a circus. This is an abuse of the law and what you are doing is political,” – Haradinaj told the court during the hearing.
Haradinaj was arrested earlier in January as a result of an international arrest warrant from Serbia, which accuses the former KLA commander of war crimes during the guerrilla war of Kosovo.
According to Euronews, prosecuting attorney Dominique Steinmetz said Serbia’s extradition request had not reached the local prosecutor. It could take “several weeks, even several months.”
Haradinaj’s arrest has aggravated tensions between Kosovo and Serbia, promting Serbia’s President Tomislav Nikolic to mention war as a possibility between the two countries.
Tensions were eased later after a high level meeting mediated by Chief of EU Diplomacy Federica Mogherini in Brussels where both sides agreed to calm down rhetoric. Other foreign representatives have also played down fears of renewed armed conflict.
Serbia requests France to extradite Haradinaj to Belgrade where he could be judged on war crimes charges. However, supporters and an overwhelming majority of the population of Kosovo have been angered by France’s decision to arrest and further detain Haradinaj.
“We consider that the decision to release him from custody but not allow him to return to his homeland does not serve justice fully,” – Haradinaj’s Alliance for the Future of Kosovo Party urges the French authorities to drop all legal action against him.
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