Accessibility links

Breaking News


Meliza Haradinaj-Stublla announced on March 9 she was stepping down from her position in the government and resigning from her political party. (file photo)

PRISTINA -- Kosovo's foreign minister has resigned amid allegations that her husband bribed election officials to help her win a parliamentary seat.

Meliza Haradinaj-Stublla announced on March 9 that she was stepping down from her position in the government and resigning from her political party, the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK).

In a Facebook post, the 37-year-old politician described her decision as a necessary step that would allow her to focus on her legal defense -- not an acknowledgement of any guilt.

According to local media reports, her husband, Dardan Stublla, bribed election commissioners to help her win a seat in the Kosovo Assembly at last month’s snap parliamentary elections.

Haradinaj-Stublla belonged to a caretaker cabinet operating until the new parliament convenes and elects the government.

The AAK -- a junior coalition partner in the government of Avdullah Hoti, which took office in June -- is not expected to be part of the next government to be headed by Prime Minister-designate Albin Kurti.

It received eight parliamentary seats in the February 14 election, which was won by Kurti’s leftist-nationalist Vetevendosje (Self-Determination) party.

With reporting by Balkan Insight, dpa, and AP
Kylie Moore-Gilbert speaks during an interview with broadcaster Sky News on March 9.

A British-Australian woman jailed in Iran for more than two years on widely criticized espionage charges has said in a television interview broadcast on March 9 that she was subjected to "psychological torture."

Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a lecturer in Islamic Studies at Melbourne University, returned to Australia in November after serving 804 days of a 10-year sentence.

Moore-Gilbert, 33, who was freed in exchange for the release of three Iranians held in Thailand, told Sky News that she was held in solitary confinement.

"It's [an] extreme solitary confinement room designed to break you. It's psychological torture. You go completely insane. It is so damaging. I would say I felt physical pain from the psychological trauma I had in that room. It's [a] 2-meter by 2-meter box,” she said.

"There were a few times in that early period that I felt broken. I felt if I had to endure another day of this, you know, if I could I’d just kill myself. But of course, I never tried and I never took that step," Moore-Gilbert added.

She also confirmed that members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) had attempted to recruit her as a spy “many times.”

Moore-Gilbert had written about the attempts in letters smuggled out of prison and published in British media in January 2020.

Iran has arrested dozens of foreign and dual nationals in recent years on espionage charges that they and their governments say are groundless.

Critics say Iran uses such arbitrary detentions as part of hostage diplomacy to extract concessions from Western countries, which Tehran denies.

With reporting by AP and The Guardian

Load more

About This Blog

"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


Journalists In Trouble

RFE/RL journalists take risks, face threats, and make sacrifices every day in an effort to gather the news. Our "Journalists In Trouble" page recognizes their courage and conviction, and documents the high price that many have paid simply for doing their jobs. More