Swiss officials agree to keep dangerous Kosovar refugee

Swiss refugee officials decided on Monday not to send back an ethnic Albanian refugee to Kosovo - who was regarded as dangerous - following the refusal by the United Nations civilian administration to allow him to return.

This content was published on August 14, 2000 - 18:04

It was the first time the UN in Kosovo (UNMIK) had refused the repatriation of a Kosovar from Switzerland.

The man, who has not been identified, was said to be psychologically disturbed, and have a criminal record.

"The man was very violent. He threatened to blow up bombs on a number of occasions. He was caught in possession of arms and ammunition, and overall he is regarded as rather dangerous" a spokesman for the federal office for refugees, Dominique Boillat, told swissinfo.

Boillat said UNMIK had made it clear the man would not be able to have psychiatric treatment in Kosovo. He said the man would receive treatment in Switzerland, and the situation would be re-assessed once his condition changed, and if the situation in Kosovo improved.

The UNMIK authorities said the only functioning psychiatric clinic in Kosovo was full, and the man was unlikely to receive any care.

Swiss officials had been intending to fly the man back to Pristina on Wednesday, under the government's scheme to repatriate Kosovars who have refused to leave Switzerland voluntarily.

The Swiss authorities started a forced repatriation scheme in the middle of this year. Almost all of the 32,000 people who had signalled their willingness to return had done so by the end of May, according to figures released last week.

About another 14,000 people are expected to be covered by the forced repatriation scheme. The authorities say that despite a good start, it is likely to be a lengthy process.

Switzerland, along with Germany, took in the most Kosovar refugees during the conflict which ended last year.

swissinfo with agencies

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