Accused Kosovo Politician Azem Syla Released

Azem Syla, a Kosovo politician who is under investigation for alleged property scams and money laundering, was released from custody on Thursday evening.

640x480 syla in the car
Azem Syla in police car

Syla, a prominent politician from the ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK was released on the decision of an EU rule-of-law mission, EULEX judge on Thursday after the court assessed that there was no threat to witnesses in the case.

Syla is accused of being the head of a crime syndicate involved in property scams and money laundering.

As well as Syla, the court released four others accused in the case, Nuhi Uka, Sabedin Haxhiu, Avni Maxhuni and Hajrullah Berisha. One of the defence lawyers said that two of the group, Ilaz Syla and Ljubisa Vujovic, are still in custody.

Those who were released have been ordered to report to a police station regularly until November. None of them is allowed to communicate with each other or with witnesses.

Syla surrendered to the authorities and was placed in detention on April 29, two days after 300 Kosovo and EULEX police launched a large-scale operation to detain him and others.

The Kosovo prosecution has said it is investigating 50 other suspects over the alleged scam, and claims the group had also ties with Serbian criminals.

According to the prosecution, members of the group “deprived Kosovo of public property worth around 30 million euros”.

A former commander of Kosovo Liberation Army, Syla was PDK MP and after being detained he submitted the MP mandate.

In February, the authorities in Kosovo published a list of public property that has been illegally taken over and the names of around 170 suspects. However, a BIRN investigation found that known PDK-affiliated suspects were not on the list.

Balkan Insight

26 August, 2016