Five Kosovo Albanians have been remanded in custody for 30 days, after being arrested on suspicion of planning to carry out terrorist attacks in the country.
Ardian Gjuraj, Nuhredin Skenderi, Ergim Syla, Mentor Bellaqa and Shkodran Krasniqi were escorted by police to Pristina Basic Court earlier today. The five men are allegedly Islamic terrorists.
Prosecution documents show that the five suspects allegedly had different roles within a terrorist Islamic group; four of the men are suspected of planning the attacks, while the fifth was allegedly involved in the unauthorised import and export of weapons and explosive devices. Each of the suspects has been arrested previously for involvement in groups involving Islamic terrorists.
In 2018, Ardijan Gjuraj was acquitted by the Court of Appeals after being charged with criminal offences related to terrorism. He had initially been found guilty, and sentenced to one year and five months in prison on charges of committing terrorism-related offences.
According to Gjuraj’s initial indictment, he had become a supporter of ISIS, the group of Islamic terrorists, between 2014 and 2015 while living in Germany. He was reported to police by his father, Kujtim Qerkini, and deported to Kosovo by German police on 18 April 2015.
As per the indictment, Gjuraj then traveled to Turkey with a group in December 2015. While there, he separated from the group to continue on to Syria, where he joined a group of Kosovar members of ISIS. Gjuraj was arrested by Turkish authorities on 25 February 2016 after illegally crossing the Syrian-Turkish border.
The mens’ arrest this week comes after three months of investigations conducted by police. According to the document that launched this latest investigation, dated 27 August 2021, at least one suspect was involved in communication with ISIS to plan the attack.
“By contacting a high-ranking person within the structure of the terrorist organisation, ISIS [Islamic State]- External Office, [a suspect] was engaged in providing hand grenades, explosives and firearms with ammunition aimed at committing terrorist acts in Kosovo,” it reads.
More than 250 Kosovo Albanians have reportedly been repatriated from conflict zones in the Middle East since 2019, including fighters and their family members. A national action plan is currently in place to rehabilitate these individuals, addressing both the need for detention and counseling.
Many people who have travelled to the Middle East to fight in the conflicts there have lost their lives in the violence.
Image via Wikimedia Commons.