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Kosovo woman in custody for criticizing US assassination of Iran’s Gen. Soleimani

A court in Kosovo has ordered a Muslim woman to be remanded in custody pending trial over a social media post criticizing the US assassination of Iran’s prominent anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.

The court in Pristina accepted a prosecutor’s request to keep in detention Ikballe Berisha Huduti for one month. She is the mother of three and the founder of a pro-Islam organization in Kosovo.

The head of the Kosovo Special Prosecution said Huduti had been arrested on January 7 for publicly inciting violence.

“We took the decision to arrest her … on a penal charge” regarding “her call for revenge, because she made that call publicly,” Blerim Isufaj said.

US President Donald Trump ordered the fatal drone strike on General Soleimani’s motorcade upon his arrival in Baghdad on January 3 at the invitation of the Iraqi government.

The attack also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), as well as eight other Iranian and Iraqi people.

One day after Washington’s targeted killings, Huduti wrote on her Facebook page that Soleimani will never die.

“Iraqi people took to the streets of Iraq shortly after the US crime to convict severely the injustice done to the two eminent figures of Iraq and Iran to their two generals General Soleimani and General Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, may God grant patience; By killing the owner of the house, you have killed the whole family, so revenge is obligatory, but there is no limit,” she wrote.

In a second Facbook post, she wrote, “Terrorist America killed our Shia-brother in Iraq, our commander, therefore we must act wherever we are against terrorist American criminals.”

The messages were later deleted, with the woman saying her words were taken out of context by local media.

Huduti also denied writing the second post, saying it had been posted from a Facebook page that she does not run.

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The defense team representing Huduti, comprising lawyers Ndue Thaqi and Abnora Zeqiri, said, “There is no well-founded suspicion that the defendant has committed the criminal offense for which she is being held accountable for.”

The team also emphasized that the woman it is “unacceptable” to keep the woman in custody as she “has never violated the law.”

“As far as posting on the social network Facebook, the defendant posted a text that was not intended to encourage anyone; the text was based on newscasts on international media platforms such as the BBC and CNN; while the other Facebook text in question, we have also informed the prosecution that it is not written by the defendant herself,” it added.

The defendant herself said that she had been “inspired” by events taking place in the world as well as international media, noting that she had only “emphasized that problems in the world are not solved with death.”

She further stressed that her Facebook post was not intended for incitement, but based on the Qur’anic verses that “emphasize that hatred and revenge are not solutions but forgiveness.”

“I have always supported the American people, but not the American government, these are political games, I am not a political factor, but I am an intellectual, humanitarian factor and just last year I helped over 800 poor families,” she said.

Censorship campaign

In the days following the US assassination of General Soleimani, Iranians flooded their social media accounts with tributes to their national hero.

Many of those expressing admiration for the martyred general found their posts or accounts had been deleted by Instagram and its parent company Facebook.

In a tweet condemning Instagram, Iran’s government spokesman Ali Rabiei called the platform’s actions “undemocratic.”

Facebook admitted to deleting posts and accounts, claiming that they did not comply with US sanctions.

“To comply with these [US] sanctions, we remove accounts maintained by or on behalf of a sanctioned party as well as remove content posted by others that supports or represents the sanctioned group or individual,” a Facebook spokesperson told the ABC.

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