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Denmark turns to Kosovo to alleviate its overcrowded prison system in $217 million deal

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May 20, 2024

Kosovo’s Cabinet renewed efforts with a new draft law on renting a prison in the south of the country to Denmark to help it cope with its overpopulated prison system, an official said Monday.

The first draft of the law failed to pass at the parliament last week. But on Sunday, the Cabinet approved a draft law on 300 cells at the prison in Gjilan, 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of the capital Pristina, to be rented to Denmark, based on a a 10-year agreement that the two governments signed in April and May 2022, government spokesman Perparim Kryeziu said.

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“The Cabinet approved it (the draft law) again yesterday (Sunday) so that it passes on to the Assembly (the parliament) to be voted on again,” he said.

Last week, the draft law got 75 votes, not reaching at least 80, or two-thirds of the 120-seat parliament as required to pass.

Kosovo will be paid 200 million euros ($217 million) that will be spent on the country’s correctional institutions and renewable energy projects.

According to the plan, Denmark won’t be able to send inmates convicted of terrorism or war crimes, or mentally ill prisoners. A Danish warden will run the 300-cell facility, accompanied by an Albanian one and other local staff.

Kosovo’s prison system has a capacity of up to 2,800. It wasn’t immediately possible to find out the current number of vacancies.

Neighboring Albania has agreed to hold thousands of asylum-seekers for Italy.

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