|Lirim Jakupi. Photo: Facebook.|
The Basic Court in Gjilan/Gilanje on Friday found Jakupi, also known as Nazi, not guilty of opening fire on Macedonian police in the country’s capital Skopje in 2014, and in Tetovo in 2004.
Jakupi, a veteran of various ethnic Albanian guerrilla groups, was cleared of attempting to commit murder in cooperation with others.
The judge, Aziz Shaqiri, said that on the other charge against Jakupi – the unauthorised possession, control or use of weapons – the statute of limitations has expired.
The prosecution had alleged that Jakupi and another person opened fire on three uniformed police officers in Skopje on September 15, 2014.
It claimed that officers Zoran Angelovski, Vasko Ivanovski and Elza Durmitrovska were attacked and seriously injured by gunshots while on patrol in a police car.
“By shooting at the three officers, Lirim Jakupi tried to deprive them of life in the following circumstances: he deliberately jeopardised the lives of these people, acting ruthlessly and violently, at a time when the three officers were carrying out their duty of upholding the legal order, detecting criminal offences and maintaining public order and peace,” the indictment alleged.
Jakupi joined the Kosovo Liberation Army in 1998 and fought against Serbian security forces.
He was also involved in forming the Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac, UCPMB, which launched attacks on security forces in Albanian-populated areas of southern Serbia in 2000.
After the UCPMB was demobilised, Jakupi settled in Kosovo.
He was arrested by international security forces but managed to break out of Kosovo’s Dubrava prison in 2007.
Macedonian police raided the village of Brodec on Sara Mountain near the Kosovo border in November 2007, three months after his escape from prison.
Several members of Jakupi’s group were killed and several others arrested, although he managed to get away.
Macedonian courts jailed Jakupi in absentia for 15 years in July 2008 for organising a terrorist group and the illegal possession of weapons.
A Kalashnikov automatic rifle, two hand grenades and two pistols were discovered at the apartment where he was detained by police special forces, officials said at the time.