Kouchner prolongs detention of Albanian murder suspect

PRISTINA, Jul 29, 2000 -- (AFP) The UN administrator in Kosovo, Bernard Kouchner, has prolonged by one month the detention of an ethnic Albanian suspected of murdering three Serbs, a UN spokesman said Friday.

"Kouchner was requested by (the multinational peacekeeping force) KFOR to extend by one month the detention of Afrim Zeqiri, for security reasons, in accordance with (UN) resolution 1244," Susan Manuel told AFP.

The UN Security Council last year issued a mandate -- resolution 1244 -- for the United Nations to administer the Yugoslav province of Kosovo and authorized the deployment of NATO troops there.

Zeqiri has been imprisoned six times in one year, including for the possession of illegal weapons and threats to Serbs, Manuel said.

He is currently in jail for his suspected role in the murder of three Serbs, including a four-year-old, and the attempted murder of two other Serbs, in May in the southeastern Kosovo village of Cernica.

The Albanian prosecutor in charge of the case, Sabit Maliqi, brought no charges against him and an international judge, Ante Ruotslainen, decided last week to free him.

Zeqiri is being held in a military prison at the US military base, Camp Bondsteel.

Serbs, a minority in Kosovo, have been the victims of regular attacks since the end of NATO's war against Yugoslavia last year. Some 500 people have been killed since the arrival of KFOR in the province.

Original article