Thousands of people protested Saturday in the Kosovo capital of Pristina to urge France to release their former prime minister who was detained there on a Serbian arrest warrant.
The protesters — mostly opposition party members and former guerrilla fighters of the 1998-1999 war for independence from Serbia — consider Ramush Haradinaj’s detention illegal.
Haradinaj, also a former guerrilla commander, was released by a French court, but he must stay in France under judicial supervision, pending a decision on whether to extradite him to Serbia.
Kosovo considers Haradinaj’s detention a political move from Belgrade, given that he has been twice cleared of war crimes charges by a U.N. tribunal.
Fatmir Limaj of the opposition Initiative for Kosovo party also said at the protest that Pristina should cancel talks with Belgrade brokered by the European Union to normalize their relations. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but Belgrade has not recognized the move.
Haradinaj hailed the protest Saturday in his Facebook page. I understand your great unsparing support, all around the world, as a support for Kosovo’s freedom and existence,” he wrote.—AP