January 7, 2020 / 7:02 PM / 19 days ago

Kosovo arrests Iran supporter over comments after Soleimani's death

FILE PHOTO: Demonstrators hold placards depicting Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, during a protest against killing of Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, who died in an air strike at Baghdad airport, outside U.S. Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, January 5, 2020. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

PRISTINA (Reuters) - Kosovo police arrested a woman on Tuesday accused of inciting terrorist acts for social media comments against the United States over the killing of Iranian Commander Qassem Soleimani.

Police said that Ikballe Berisha Huduti, the founder of a now defunct pro-Islamic organization called Kur’ani, was arrested following an order from the prosecution and she will remain in detention for 48 hours awaiting a court decision.

Police said she was detained on charges of “incitement to commit a terrorist offence.”

Huduti wrote comments on her private Facebook page criticizing Washington after the U.S. forces killed Soleimani on Friday.

“By killing the master of the house you have killed all members of the family, then revenge is obligatory but it has no border,” Huduti wrote, according to Pristina media which had screenshots of her postings.

She deleted her messages and said on Facebook that her words were taken out of context by local media. She said in other postings she had praised U.S. democracy and U.S. support for Kosovo in 1999 when conflict erupted between ethnic Serbs and Albanians in the former Yugoslavia.

Showing a photo of her with the former hard-line leader of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, media in Kosovo have described Huduti as a strong supporter of the Iranian government. Her organization was closed by police in 2016. But she denied wrongdoing and there were never any charges against her.

Kosovo has been a strong supporter of the United States. When the Iranian general was killed, Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said: “Kosovo stands firm in support of the U.S. in its right to self-defense.”

Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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