Bardehul Ajeti, a journalist on Bota Sot, Kosovo's leading Albanian-language daily, died on the afternoon of 25 June 2005 in Galiazzi Hospital in Milan from injuries received when he was shot in the head by unidentified gunmen on 3 June. He had been transferred to the Italian hospital on 9 July. Although his condition has been seen as stable, he suddenly went into a coma. „We expect the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) to launch an impartial investigation so that those responsible for this vile act are quickly brought to trial,‰ aid Reporters Without Borders.
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Appeal to UN mission after murder attempt on Albanian journalist
6 June 2005
Reporters Without Borders wrote today to the United Nations interim administration mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) voicing "extreme concern" about a murder attempt on Albanian journalist Bardehul Ajeti on 3 June and asking the mission to deploy all possible resources to ensure that those responsible are identified and punished.
Ajeti, who works for the Albanian-language newspaper Bota Sot (which supports Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova's party, the Kosovo Democratic League), sustained serious gunshot injuries to the head and body 30 km outside Pristina when fired on by gunmen travelling in a Mercedes car. Ajeti had stopped there because his own car had just broken down.
"Journalists must be able to work with complete safety in Kosovo, whatever the editorial line of the news media they work for," Reporters Without Borders said in its letter to the head of the UN mission, Soren Jessen-Petersen.
Ajeti is currently in a coma with a bullet lodged in his head and another in his body, but he is reportedly in a stable condition. His doctor, Zeke Zeka, said there was still a chance of saving him.
The reason for the attack is still unknown, but the local press believed it was politically motivated. Ajeti had often written about organized crime gangs operating in the region. The police have made no arrests.
Another Bota Sot journalist, Bekim Kastrati, was murdered in an ambush on 19 October 2001. The newspaper's Zurich bureau was the target of an attempted bombing on 27 September 2002.
Bota Sot has seven bureaux: in Zurich, Geneva (covering UN organisations and agencies), New York, Frankfurt, Pristina (Kosovo), Tirana (Albania) and Tetovo (Macedonia). With a print-run of about 120,000, it is Kosovo's biggest daily.