Kosovo journalist shot

New York, June 6, 2005— Unidentified assailants shot journalist Bardhyl Ajeti from a passing car in Kosovo last Friday, according to international press reports

Ajeti, a reporter for the Albanian-language daily Bota Sot (World Today), is now in a coma. Ajeti, 28, was driving from Kosovo’s capital of Pristina to the eastern Kosovo town of Gnjilane when at least one attacker shot at him from another car, according to the Kosova Journalists Association, a local union.

Police spokesman Refki Morina said Saturday that Ajeti was shot in the head from a close range, but did not identify any possible motives, according to The Associated Press.

Baton Haxhiu, President of the Kosova Journalists’ Association, told CPJ in a telephone interview today that Ajeti wrote daily editorials for Bota Sot, which is allied with the governing Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) party. He often criticized opposition party figures in his editorials, Haxhiu told CPJ.

CPJ is investigating whether the attack on Ajeti is connected to his journalism work.

“We are very concerned about Bardhyl Ajeti, who is in critical condition and fighting for his life,” CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said. “We call on the U.N. police in Kosovo to investigate this case aggressively and bring those responsible to justice.”

Bota Sot journalists have been threatened and attacked in the past. Reporter Bekim Kastrati was shot and murdered in a drive-by shooting in October 2001.

The predominantly ethnic Albanian province of Kosovo is legally part of Serbia and Montenegro, but has been run by a temporary U.N. administration since June 1999.