Civil Society: Kelkos withdraws lawsuit against activist Shpresa Loshaj

Deçan, 2 March 2021 – The ad-hoc coalition and the civil society organization held a press conference today, on which occasion the answers to the lawsuit filed by the Kelkos company against the activists Shpresa Loshaj were submitted.

Adem Lushaj, activist from Decan read a statement sent by Shpresa Loshaj which says: “This aggressive lawsuit against me is clearly showing that Kelkosi has a lot to hide and cover, for this they are being released in extreme measures. They are suing me for facts that we as Deçanas have had in front of our eyes for almost 10 years, but they are also documented by public institutions, the People’s Advocate and civil society. But the more they are trying to cover the overwhelming evidence of their crimes over the Deçan Gorge, the more they are sliding down. They sued me because they probably thought I would be alone, but we testified differently. Thank you tens, thousands of citizens from Kosovo and the diaspora for support messages, providing professional assistance, financial and everything possible just to protect ourselves from Kelkos. I want to assure you that their attempts to silence us do not frighten us, but only strengthen our resolve, and unite us even more in defense of our country and our democracy, and we will not stop #DERINEFUND!”

Meanwhile, lawyer Rina Kika said that Kelkos had sued environmental activist Shpresa Loshaj and asked her to pay (1) 100,000 euros in damages for reputation damage; (2) to apologize publicly for the statements made and 3) to refrain from such statements in the future. Kelkos claims, among other things, that Shpresa, based on no facts, has publicly stated (1) that Kelkos has produced electricity for years without an environmental permit and (2) that Kelkos has degraded the environment in the Decan Gorge. All declarations of Hope are based on facts and are protected by the freedom of expression protected by Article 40 of our Constitution. “The Declaration of Hope that Kelkos has produced electricity for years without an environmental permit and without a license is based on the monitoring report of the company Kelkos Sh.p.k. dated 14 December 2016, issued by ERO. In this report it is ascertained that in the absence of the environmental permit ERO has not issued a license for operation and that despite this Kelko has continued with the operation of HPP Deçani and HPP Belaje, without license and without environmental permit. In the Annual Report 2018, ERO ascertains again that from April 1, 2016 Kelkos has continued commercial operation without an environmental license. Therefore, the statements of Shpresa that Kelkos has produced electricity for years without environmental permits are statements based on facts and are protected by freedom of expression “, said Kika, adding that Shpresa has used her constitutional right to express herself freely on an issue with public interest such as the protection of the environment and water, therefore today we have submitted the response to the lawsuit and we have asked the Court in Deçan to reject the lawsuit as unfounded.

Mexhide Demolli Nimani, said that it is the second time that we as civil society are in front of this court building in Deçan, to support the activists sued with the SLAPP lawsuit and unfortunately the lawsuit comes from the same company, only the names of the activists change and the figures required as compensation. “Today I represent here the voice of over 75 NGOs and activists of dozens of civil society organizations which support Hope in this case, as well as the Adriatic last year. “In addition to supporting Hope, we also express our concern about the trend of using SLAPP lawsuits against activists and journalists. “We consider that the SLAPP lawsuits, if successful in court, would pose a threat to democracy and the right to freedom of expression.” Civil Society will continue to monitor and support such cases and will continue to work to combat SLAPP lawsuits.