Albin Kurti

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Albin Kurti
Albin Kurti duke protestuar (2).jpg
Kurti in January 2013
Leader of Vetëvendosje
Assumed office
21 January 2018
Preceded byVisar Ymeri
In office
12 June 2005 – 28 February 2015
Preceded byNew office
Succeeded byVisar Ymeri
Personal details
Born (1975-03-24) 24 March 1975 (age 44)
Pristina, SAP Kosovo, SR Serbia, SFR Yugoslavia
NationalityKosovar / Albanian
Political partyVetëvendosje
Spouse(s)Rita Augestad Knudsen
Alma materUniversity of Prishtina
Military service
Political representativeKosovo Liberation Army

Albin Kurti (born 24 March 1975) is a Kosovar activist and politician who is the leader of Vetëvendosje. He came to prominence in 1997 as the vice-president of the University of Prishtina Student Union, and a main organiser of non-violent demonstrations in 1997 and 1998. When Adem Demaçi became the political representative of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), Kurti worked in his office. He has been the member of the Assembly of Kosovo.

Early life[edit]

Albin Kurti was born on 24 March 1975 in Pristina, at the time part of Yugoslavia. Kurti's father originates from an Albanian family from the village Sukobin (albanian: Sukubinë) in Ulcinj Municipality, Montenegro. Kurti's father, an engineer, moved to Pristina in search for employment, before Albin was born there. Kurti's mother is a retired elementary school teacher, born and educated in Pristina, Kosovo. [1]

Professional impact[edit]

In April 1999, during the NATO's air strikes on Yugoslavia he was arrested and beaten by Yugoslav forces.[2] Later that year he was charged with "jeopardizing Yugoslavia's territorial integrity and conspiring to commit an enemy activity linked to terrorism", which carried a maximum penalty of 20 years' imprisonment, and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.[3] During the trial he refused to recognise the legitimacy of the court. "This trial has nothing common with truth and with justice. This trial serves the daily politics of Milošević, who occupied Kosovo". When convicted he said, "It is not important if you convict me or how long. Everything I have said and done I did voluntarily and with dignity. I'm proud of this and if I had the chance I would do it again."[citation needed]

Albin Kurti 2013.

He was freed in December 2001 by Yugoslavia's post-Milošević government amid international pressure. Since his release, he has worked outside party politics in Kosovo but has been a severe critic of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and of corruption. He organised non-violent protests in support of the families of those whose relatives disappeared in the war, and in favour of Kosovo's self-determination. On 23 April 2003 he graduated with a degree in Computer and Telecommunications Sciences from the Universiteti i Prishtinës (University of Prishtina). He was an activist for the Action for Kosovo Network (AKN), which was formed in 1997, and is a movement whose mission focusing on human rights and social justice, education, culture and art.[citation needed]

On 12 June 2005 AKN activists wrote the slogan "No negotiations, Self-Determination" on the on walls of UNMIK buildings. The police with the help of UN Police, arrested, jailed and convicted hundreds of activists, including Kurti. The Self-Determination Movement demanded a referendum on the status of Kosovo, stating "only with a referendum as a use of international right for self-determination, we can realise a democratic solution for Kosovo instead of negotiations which compromise freedom".[4]

In February 2007 when UN police from Romania killed two unarmed protesters and injured 80 others with plastic and rubber bullets at a Vetëvendosje! rally, Kurti was arrested. He was detained until July, and then kept under house arrest. Amnesty International criticised the irregularities in his prosecution. He was eventually sentenced to nine months. Kurti remains an advocate of "active nonviolent resistance".[5]

In 2010, Albin Kurti appeared in the feature documentary film My Blood My Compromise as a key activist describing the events that led to Kosovo's declaration of independence which was adopted on February 17, 2008.

On 31 December 2011, he was voted "Personality of the Year" on Albanian Television Network's Top Media.

On 14 January 2012, Vetëvendosje! organised a peaceful demonstration but the police again used force, allegedly with orders from Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi and Minister of Internal Affairs Bajram Rexhepi.[citation needed]

Political positions[edit]

Albin Kurti is a strong supporter of the unification of Albania and Kosovo through a population vote.[6][7][8][9][10] Following the 2019 Kosovan parliamentary elections and Vetëvendosje's electoral success, Kurti stated that Kosovo Albanians were not after territorial and political unification with Albania and instead sought "integration with Albania and the EU, through the success of Kosovo as a state."[11] Kurti said that "solid dialogue" and "reciprocity" was needed in the process of normalisaing relations with Serbia and he considers future dialogue "a top priority" with Kosovo's minorities and the European Union going forward.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1], albinkurti.weebly.com; accessed 27 February 2018.
  2. ^ Profile Archived 2010-04-26 at the Wayback Machine, alb-net.com; accessed 13 April 2014.
  3. ^ Jail sentence for Kurti Archived 2009-04-29 at the Wayback Machine; accessed 13 April 2014.
  4. ^ [2], albinkurti.weebly.com; accessed 13 April 2014.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-01-08. Retrieved 2008-11-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link), newkosovareport.com; accessed 13 April 2014.
  6. ^ Bojicic-Dzelilovic, Vesna; Ker-Lindsay, James (11 January 2013), Civil Society and Transitions in the Western Balkans, p. 128
  7. ^ Lewis, Paul (December 12, 2010), Former US diplomat backs Albanian nationalist in Kosovo elections, The Guardian
  8. ^ Mejdini, Fatjona (December 1, 2015), Albanian Activists Rally for Kosovo MP’s Release, balkaninsight.com
  9. ^ Tschinderle, Franziska (March 29, 2018), The split opposition, erstestiftung.org
  10. ^ Kosovo politician says Kosovo has right to join Albania, rs.n1info.com, September 17, 2019
  11. ^ a b "Kosovo's Likely PM Says Relations With Serbia Should Be Based On 'Reciprocity'". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 10 October 2019. Retrieved 11 October 2019.

External links[edit]