Balkans: December 22, 2004


: Crackdowns on the Albanian National Army (ANA/AKSH) continue. The Macedonian government reported that Avdil Jakupi (a former ANA "commander" who gained international notoriety under the name  "Commander Jackal") was convicted of kidnapping and robbery. He has been sentenced to ten years in prison. His lawyers said they intend to appeal the conviction. Jakupi was accused of several kidnappings. In the course of the trial he admitted he organized the August 2003 kidnapping of two Macedonian policemen. The two policemen were taken as part of a "hostage scheme" to free Avni Ajeti, an ANA member accused of a terror bombing campaign. Jakupi fled Macedonia after the kidnapping, then turned himself in to the police in neighboring Kosovo in January 2004. The UN and Kosovo sent him to Macedonia for trial. As we have reported over the past few weeks, there is increasing evidence of political and legal cooperation to curb ANA activities among Macedonia, Serbia/Montenegro, Kosovo, and Albania. Bosnia may also be cooperating. Putting the holdout armed radicals in jail is a positive trend. However, there is no indication the Balkan nations are addressing the other large problem they share: organized crime. 




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