Europe

Kosovo Albanians call for ex-premier's release in France

  • Protesters waving an Albanian flag looks on during a protest demanding immediate release from French judicial supervision of Ramush Haradinaj, Kosovo's former prime minister and a former guerrilla fighter, in Kosovo's capital Pristina on Saturday, Jan 21, 2017. A French court ordered the release of Haradinaj pending a decision on whether to extradite him to Serbia, where he's wanted on war crimes charges. Haradinaj, a former guerrilla fighter in Kosovo's 1998-1999 war for independence from Serbia, was cleared of war crimes charges by a U.N. tribunal. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

    Protesters waving an Albanian flag looks on during a protest demanding immediate release from French judicial supervision of Ramush Haradinaj, Kosovo's former prime minister and a former guerrilla fighter, in Kosovo's capital Pristina on Saturday, Jan 21, 2017. A French court ordered the release of Haradinaj pending a decision on whether to extradite him to Serbia, where he's wanted on war crimes charges. Haradinaj, a former guerrilla fighter in Kosovo's 1998-1999 war for independence from Serbia, was cleared of war crimes charges by a U.N. tribunal. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)  (The Associated Press)

  • Protesters hold a portrait of Ramush Haradinaj, Kosovo's former prime minister and a former guerrilla fighter, during a protest demanding immediate release from French judicial supervision in Kosovo's capital Pristina on Saturday, Jan 21, 2017. A French court ordered the release of Haradinaj pending a decision on whether to extradite him to Serbia, where he's wanted on war crimes charges. Haradinaj, a former guerrilla fighter in Kosovo's 1998-1999 war for independence from Serbia, was cleared of war crimes charges by a U.N. tribunal. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

    Protesters hold a portrait of Ramush Haradinaj, Kosovo's former prime minister and a former guerrilla fighter, during a protest demanding immediate release from French judicial supervision in Kosovo's capital Pristina on Saturday, Jan 21, 2017. A French court ordered the release of Haradinaj pending a decision on whether to extradite him to Serbia, where he's wanted on war crimes charges. Haradinaj, a former guerrilla fighter in Kosovo's 1998-1999 war for independence from Serbia, was cleared of war crimes charges by a U.N. tribunal. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)  (The Associated Press)

  • Thousands of protesters waving Albanian, Kosovan and U.S flags march during a protest demanding the immediate release from French judicial supervision of Ramush Haradinaj, Kosovo's former prime minister and a former guerrilla fighter, in Kosovo's capital Pristina on Saturday, Jan 21, 2017. A French court ordered the release of Haradinaj pending a decision on whether to extradite him to Serbia, where he's wanted on war crimes charges. Haradinaj, a former guerrilla fighter in Kosovo's 1998-1999 war for independence from Serbia, was cleared of war crimes charges by a U.N. tribunal. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

    Thousands of protesters waving Albanian, Kosovan and U.S flags march during a protest demanding the immediate release from French judicial supervision of Ramush Haradinaj, Kosovo's former prime minister and a former guerrilla fighter, in Kosovo's capital Pristina on Saturday, Jan 21, 2017. A French court ordered the release of Haradinaj pending a decision on whether to extradite him to Serbia, where he's wanted on war crimes charges. Haradinaj, a former guerrilla fighter in Kosovo's 1998-1999 war for independence from Serbia, was cleared of war crimes charges by a U.N. tribunal. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)  (The Associated Press)

Thousands of people have gathered in the Kosovo capital of Pristina to urge France to release their former prime minister who was detained there on a Serbian arrest warrant.

The protesters — mostly opposition party members and former guerrilla fighters of the 1998-1999 war for independence from Serbia — consider Ramush Haradinaj's detention as illegal.

Haradinaj, also a former guerrilla commander, was released by a French court, but he must stay in France under judicial supervision, pending a decision on whether to extradite him to Serbia.

Kosovo considers Haradinaj's detention a political move from Belgrade, given that he has been twice cleared of war crimes charges by a U.N. tribunal.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but Belgrade has not recognized the move.