03 maj 2023
Disinformation regarding the institution that issued the diplomatic passport for Sahiti
On April 12th, a news article titled "EXCLUSIVE: Designer Valdrin Sahiti caught with drugs and arrested at Istanbul airport, using a diplomatic passport" was published. Suspicions of a criminal offense were raised against Sahiti, specifically for the purchase, receipt, and possession of narcotics or psychotropic substances for personal use, based on Article 191 of the Turkish Criminal Code.
Taking advantage of this opportunity, some media outlets, who also have reach in social media platforms, speculated about the authority that issued the diplomatic passport to Sahiti.
Thus, the Facebook pages - "Universal", "Dardania Press", "24News" claimed that the diplomatic passport was issued by President Vjosa Osmani. They linked the fact that Sahiti had also designed clothing for the President, who had also participated in one of his fashion shows in 2022.
But based on the document provided by Sbunker, the decision to issue the diplomatic passport was given by the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Meliza Haradinaj-Stublla, in 2020 on the grounds of "representation of the state interest by Sahiti in the framework of various projects that have aimed at promoting the interest of Kosovo".
The recommendation of former foreign minister Meliza Haradinaj Stublla, for issuing a diplomatic passport to Valdrin Sahit.
According to Article 10 of the Law on Travel Documents, diplomatic passports are issued to state and institutional leaders acting on behalf of Kosovo and to their close family members. Meanwhile, in article 11.2 it is stated that “and other determined persons, if this is in the interest of the Republic of Kosova". But in its entirety, the law refers only to persons who are officially engaged on behalf of the state.
The law also specifies that the diplomatic passport and the official passport are issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and not by the Presidency as claimed.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Internal Affairs is the competent body for issuing passports and group travel documents.
The MPJD has also confirmed that Sahiti was provided with a diplomatic passport in December 2020, by the decision of the former minister Haradinaj-Stublla. The media's claims were also denied by the media adviser from the Presidency, Bekim Kupina, according to whom the president neither issues nor receives diplomatic passports, and requested that the questions be addressed to the previous government.
"The president has never given a diplomatic passport to anyone, not even Valdrin Sahiti. The president has not even recommended such a thing. The president has no legal authority to issue passports".
According to Sahiti's lawyer, Besnik Berisha, his client has not had any questions or troubles regarding the passport.
“The news of Valdrin Sahiti's arrest in Turkey is inaccurate. He is already in Dubai, and I believe that this implies that those who have written that he was arrested and detained, and the content that has come out in the media is not the complete and true version of what accompanied the event.” Berisha said.
The media's inquiries regarding the case have not been answered by the Kosovo and Turkish police.
On the day of the reported arrest, MPJD stated that they were waiting for official information from Turkish authorities. Later, there has been no update on the information related to the case.
*This article is published as part of the Western Balkans Regional Initiative against disinformation.
03 maj 2023