Witness in The Hague: KLA soldiers abducted me, beat me, and abused me in custody near Kacanik

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Source: Reporteri

In the continuation of the Hague trial of the former commander of the former Kosovo Liberation Army Hashim Thaci and co-accused of war crimes in Kosovo and Albania, prosecution witness Agim Idrizi stated that the KLA had illegally detained him in the spring of 1999 and had abused him in custody in the vicinity of Kacanik, Beta reports.

Idrizi (63) is the first Albanian witness to testify without protective measures at the trial of Thaci and co-accused members of the KLA Main Staff, Kadri Veseli, Rexhep Selimi, and Jakup Krasniqi.

He testified that the KLA "abducted him on March 5, 1999" in his village of Laniste near Kacanik.

He confirmed that he was a timber thief, that is, that he "illegally sold wood" that also had been bought by Serbian policemen.

The witness also said that he had been a supporter of Ibrahim Rugova's party, the Democratic League of Kosovo, and that he had not joined the KLA.

After the arrest, according to Idrizi, members of the KLA interrogated him and other detained Albanians, severely beat and tortured them, keeping them in inhumane conditions and without enough food in several locations in the municipality of Kacanik.

The witness and other Albanian detainees, some of whom had been later released, had been questioned by KLA soldiers about "contacts with the Serbs", as well as about other Albanians whom they had suspected of collaborating with the Serbian authorities, Idrizi said.

He testified that, after being in four improvised detentions, he had managed to escape from the trunk of the car in which the KLA soldiers had been transferring him when the vehicle had overturned.

Prosecutor James Pach told the witness that he had been on the list of members of the "local security forces" formed by the Serbian authorities in Kacanik, but Idrizi denied that this was true.

"I never applied for anything. I was never in the security forces or the police," the witness said.

Idrizi rejected as false the claims that some Albanians had ended up in prison because of him and that he "asked the Serbian police to burn down some Albanian houses".

In the continuation of the trial, the prosecutors brought Fred Abrahams, a representative of the international organization Human Rights Watch, before the judges as a witness.