Kosovo's government says up to 300 convicts could be sent from Denmark to execute their sentences in Kosovar prisons in a deal that aims to alleviate strains in the Scandinavian EU member's prison system.
The Kosovar Justice Minister Albulena Haxhiu said on December 16 that the convicted criminals from non-European Union countries would serve their terms in a correctional center in the eastern town of Gjilan.
"The inmates who will be transferred to this institution will not be high-risk," Haxhiu said in a statement.
The 10-year deal, which has yet to be approved by Kosovo's parliament, involves the Balkan country receiving 210 million euros ($237 million), which will be dedicated to capital investments, particularly for renewable energy projects.
The deal has prompted concern over the treatment of the prisoners despite Denmark saying they would be treated the same.
A report last year by the U.S. State Department outlined shortcomings in Kosovo's prisons and detention centers, including violence between inmates and mistreatment by staff, corruption, and a lack of medical care.
Danish penitentiaries have been affected by years of staff departures and the highest number of convicts since the 1950s, partly due to rising gang violence.
Similar deals between other countries have also come under criticism.
In 2015, Norway reached a deal with the Netherlands to place 1,000 convicts in Dutch prisons. The deal was terminated in 2018 amid strong criticism from Norway's civil ombudsman, who said the arrangement violated Oslo's human rights obligations.