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Kosovar Court Orders Pretrial Custody For Five Terror Suspects

Updated

A court in Pristina ordered 30 days of pretrial custody on October 12 for five terror suspects rounded up in Kosovo last weekend as part of a monthslong investigation that also netted weapons and explosives.

A defense lawyer said the detainees were accused of "preparing terrorist attacks against the constitutional order" of Kosovo.

Police had said they found a "considerable" amount of weapons, explosives, and cash seized in the raids in the Peja and Prizren regions on October 10.

Two more people were arrested the following day in raids in Pristina and Fushe Kosova on suspicion of money laundering and financing terrorism.

Kosovar special prosecutors previously said that the five people initially arrested were suspected of multiple offenses including plotting "terrorist acts or criminal offenses against the constitutional order and security of Kosovo" and "committing a terrorist offense," in addition to weapons-related charges.

They could face considerable prison time, if convicted.

The police said the arrests were the result of "several months of investigation."

A lawyer for one of the suspects, a 25-year-old from Prizren named Nehrudin Skenderi, said his client had been arrested four years ago on similar charges and spent four months in custody before being released due to a lack of evidence. The lawyer, Tome Gashi, said Skenderi is innocent.

The lawyer for a suspect identified as Ardian Gjuraj said his client had been detained on the basis of "only suspicions and assumptions."

The lawyer, Arben Kelmendi, said the allegations were "unsubstantiated and unfounded."

Gjuraj reportedly was expelled from Germany in 2015 after his father reported him to authorities.

Kosovar special prosecutors indicted Gjuraj in connection with alleged support for the Islamic State (IS) militant group in 2014-15 and he was sentenced by a Pristina court to 17 months in prison in 2018 before an appeals court struck down the conviction.

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