September 28, 2018 / 5:11 PM / a year ago

Kosovo detains two lawmakers for threatening prosecutors

PRISTINA (Reuters) - Kosovo detained two lawmakers from the governing coalition for threatening prosecutors in two separate cases, law enforcement authorities said on Friday.

A court in Pristina ordered Shkumbin Demaliaj detained for one month, pending an official indictment, after he publicly threatened a prosecutor who had charged him with pension fraud, accusing him of falsely registering thousands of people as war veterans who then claimed millions of euros in state benefits.

Just before filing that indictment, the prosecutor, Elez Blakaj, flew to the United States saying he had received threats that he must quit his job.

The lawmaker, who denied the charges, said he would “personally go after the prosecutor” if the state did nothing about the matter.

Around 40,000 people in Kosovo draw state pensions as war veterans, but the prosecution says half of them never fought in the 1998-99 war for independence with Serbia.

One day earlier, another lawmaker, Milaim Zeka, was detained for a month for threatening another prosecutor.

Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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