IMO appeals decision to re-appoint Head of High Court to duty

IMO appeals decision to re-appoint Head of High Court to duty

TIRANA, Aug. 7 – Although the justice reform’s Independent Qualification Commission reconfirmed to duty the Head of the High Court Xhezair Zaganjori last week, the International Monitoring Operation, monitoring body composed of European and US experts, recommended to the Public

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NATO to build first Western Balkans airbase in Albania

NATO to build first Western Balkans airbase in Albania

TIRANA, Aug. 6 – Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama announced on Saturday NATO is expected to locate its first airbase in the Western Balkans in Albania – a decision already approved by the North Atlantic Council. “With funds from the

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Kosovo President seeks “correction of borders,” sparking debate

Kosovo President seeks “correction of borders,” sparking debate

TIRANA, Aug. 6 – Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said he opposes the idea of ​​partitioning Kosovo along ethnic lines but is open to discuss the “correction” of borders during EU-mediated talks on normalizing relations between Kosovo and Serbia. In an

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Iranian-Canadian father, mujahedeen daughter clash over Albania-based MEK

Iranian-Canadian father, mujahedeen daughter clash over Albania-based MEK

TIRANA, Aug. 4 – An Iranian father and daughter have traded accusations against each other over Iranian opposition group Mujahedin-e-Khalq, MEK, whom Albania has offered accommodation under a deal with the United States but whose members official Iran has banned

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High Court, Tirana’s prosecution lose two more judges under vetting process

High Court, Tirana’s prosecution lose two more judges under vetting process

TIRANA, Aug. 1 – In three consecutive sessions, different bodies of the Independent Qualification Commission issued the decisions to oust High Court judge Artan Broci and current Tirana Prosecutor Dritan Rreshka, while the other High Court member Medi Bici was

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Opposition criticizes confirmation of judge who acquitted accused murderer

Opposition criticizes confirmation of judge who acquitted accused murderer

TIRANA, Aug. 1 – The opposition’s Democratic Party reacted on Wednesday following the Independent Qualification Commission’s decision to re-confirm the Serious Crimes judge Dritan Hallunaj, who in 2015 decided businessman Arben Frroku, accused of killing the police commissar Dritan Lamaj,

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Police vetting postponed due to unestablished commissions

Police vetting postponed due to unestablished commissions

TIRANA, Aug. 1 – The vetting process of the State Police, Guard of the Republic and Internal Affairs Service that was expected to begin in August will take at least one more month to start, sources from the Ministry of

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Independent experts back US report on Albania’s corrupt business climate

Independent experts back US report on Albania’s corrupt business climate

TIRANA, Aug. 1 – The opposition, government and independent economic experts have followed the State Department’s 2018 Investment Climate report rating Albania as a difficult place to do business according to foreign investors with opposing comments and sentiments. “Albania is

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Opposition seeks sacking of vetting body member over alleged English skills lie

Opposition seeks sacking of vetting body member over alleged English skills lie

TIRANA, July 31 –  The opposition’s Democratic Party released on Monday documents alleging that Independent Qualification Commission member Lulzim Hamitaj falsified his English language certificate, thus demanding his resignation and the initiation of a penal investigation towards him by the

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Albania: source of victims of trafficking in persons, report says

Albania: source of victims of trafficking in persons, report says

TIRANA, July 31 – On the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, the line for children’s counseling Alo 116 published a report stating that abuse and trafficking of Albanian children continues at alarming levels. The stream of denouncement calls to

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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Aug. 7 - Although the justice reform’s Independent Qualification Commission reconfirmed to duty the Head of the High Court Xhezair Zaganjori last week, the International Monitoring Operation, monitoring body composed of European and US experts, recommended to the Public Commissioners to appeal the IQC’s decision on Monday.

Through an official announcement, the Public Commissioners said that after they receive a written notice of the IQC’s decision, they will look into it alongside the IMO’s recommendation.

The decision to reconfirm Zaganjori was taken on July 24, giving the IQC 30 days, 

according to the law, to give a written notice to the commissioners, who then have fifteen days to decide if they will approve the appeal.

It is still unclear why the IMO suggested to appeal the decision, although the IQC itself mentioned a series of problems that it had found during an in-depth investigation in Zaganjori’s wealth. 

According to the report read during the initial hearing, Zaganjori had made inaccurate, insufficient and fictitious statements, while also lacking the financial sources statements for an apartment owned by him in the centre of Tirana, an office, a basement and a shop.

All these properties were included in one single building which, according to Zaganjori, was not purchased but built on land inherited by his wife’s family.

However, the IQC also raised allegations that he had not paid his state obligations from collected rents and that there were discrepancies in the cost he’d declared for his children’s education, which the IQC says was higher.

Zaganjori, who, in addition to monthly salaries and rent, had also declared high financial earnings from working at an institute in Germany, said he’d offered the IQC 40 pages worth of explanations for all questions raised during the process, and asked to be reconfirmed to duty.

The case of Zaganjori is similar to that of the head of the Constitutional Court Bashkim Dedja. The latter was also reconfirmed by the IQC and again the IMO requested the decision to be appealed.

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Aug. 6 - Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama announced on Saturday NATO is expected to locate its first airbase in the Western Balkans in Albania - a decision already approved by the North Atlantic Council. 

“With funds from the North Atlantic Alliance and in partnership with the Government of the Republic of Albania, NATO will invest over 50 million euros, only for the first phase of the Kucova airbase modernization project,” Rama explained through a Facebook post.

Rama said the project is expected to begin within 2018 and added that “Kucova will serve as a base for NATO support for air transport; logistical support; support for air policing; as well as training and coaching of the Alliance.”

Rama also announced the Albanian government is discussing with the US government “on the further modernization of Albanian aviation capacities. It is soon expected that the joint decisions of these discussion will pass to the US Congress for approval.”

This decision comes after Albanian Minister of Defense Olta Xhacka suggested in a meeting in April with US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis that the US should set a permanent military presence in Albania to counter anti-Western influences in the country.

Xhacka herself commented on the decision as a “great recognition towards the Albanian Armed Forces.” 

The recognition lies in Albania’s successfully-done homework as a NATO member state, including the participation in various military missions all over the world and its commitment in fighting violent extremism.

Currently, Albania has three operational airbases in its territory - one is located in Tirana, where the National Centre for NATO Control and Reporting can be also found, while the two others are the Laprake Airbase and the Kucova Airbase. 

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Aug. 6 - Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said he opposes the idea of ​​partitioning Kosovo along ethnic lines but is open to discuss the "correction" of borders during EU-mediated talks on normalizing relations between Kosovo and Serbia.

In an interview with the Associated Press news agency, President Thaci said that "Serbia's claim of Kosovo's partition will not succeed, it’s unacceptable. But in reaching Kosovo-Serbia final agreement we will work to finally get mutual de facto and de jure recognition between the two countries, as well as for Kosovo to eventually join all international organizations, including the UN. So there will be no division, but correction of borders which implies respecting the already institutionalized request of the Presevo Valley with Kosovo.”

Senior Serbian officials have come up with the idea of ​​Kosovo's territorial division, which means the separation of the Serb-inhabited North, and also the possible exchange of territories - the North of Kosovo for the Presevo Valley, an Albanian-majority region south of Serbia. 

President Thaçi said “there will be no division, but border correction,” without specifying whether this includes trading the borders in North Kosovo.

The head of the Democratic League of Kosovo parliamentary group Avdullah Hoti told the Voice of America that his party is not ready to consider exchanging territories, but looks for the normalization talks to ensure mutual recognition and preserve Kosovo’s unity. 

He added that Kosovo’s current government and president don’t have the legitimacy to head the negotiation talks with Serbia. 

Last week, Kosovo’s opposition social-democrat Vetevendosje party called a hearing asking to pass a resolution to remove Thaci’s right to head the talks. 

Meanwhile, US analyst Daniel Serwer reacted right after Kosovo President Hashim Thaci threw

the idea of ​​border correction, calling it a dangerous.

In an interview, Serwer said this idea in fact means exchanging territories, and that Thaci could not have presented the idea without agreeing with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, while the West might have accepted it as a solution.

“This discussion would not have been open unless Brussels and Washington said it could be discussed, because in the past it was said that it could not be discussed and everyone understood the reasons,” Serwer said.

He added that opening this kind of discussion is not a solution to the Kosovo-Serbia issue.

“Diplomats have always understood that changing borders to satisfy ethnic change is an endless process. You can never have all the people on the right side of the border,” Sewer said.

On Monday, Thaci posted a tweet protecting his original idea again, despite the debates it has initiated in Kosovo and abroad.

“My proposal for a peaceful solution with Serbia is clear: no partition along ethnic lines, but yes to the border adjustment and mutual recognition,” Thaci wrote.

On the other hand, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said this is the best chance for a compromise to be reached on the Kosovo case. 

Albanians want us to recognize Kosovo, plus if they can, take Medvedja, Presevo… that would be ideal for them. In this situation, the opportunity to reach a compromise opens. If there is already dialogue, there should be a proposal,” he told Serbian television Pink, stressing that partitioning Kosovo in ethnic lines is still the best solution.

On Friday, the US State Department called on Pristina and Belgrade to be creative and elastic in finding a solution to the normalization of relations between the two countries.

 
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                    [post_date] => 2018-08-04 10:35:51
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Aug. 4 – An Iranian father and daughter have traded accusations against each other over Iranian opposition group Mujahedin-e-Khalq, MEK, whom Albania has offered accommodation under a deal with the United States but whose members official Iran has banned as terrorist group.

Mostafa Mohammedi, a Canada-based Iranian citizen, claims his 38-year-old daughter is being held hostage by MEK, the "Peoples' Mujahedin of Iran," but his daughter denies claims and has filed a lawsuit against him.

Somayeh Mohammadi is one of the 3,000 mujahedeen who have been accommodated in a camp outside Durres, Albania’s second largest city, as part of United States efforts to find them new homes outside of Iraq where they were stationed at a U.S-backed camp until late 2016.

While in Albania seeking to meet his daughter whom he hasn’t seen in more than a decade,  Mostafa Mohammedi is asking Albanian authorities to free his 38-year old daughter from MEK, which he says is holding her hostage.

His daughter has responded undertaking legal action against him over alleged persecution, accusing her father as an undercover agent of the Iranian regime and says that she joined and is staying with MEK of her own free will for two decades now.

Mostafa, who holds Canadian citizenship, says he moved to Canada in 1994 to seek political asylum. The Iranian father claims MEK ‘kidnapped’ his daughter from Canada in 1997 when she was only 17, convincing him to allow her for a two-week trip to Iraq, but never came back. He says he hasn't met her since 2005.

"We believe and we have testimony from former mujahedeen who have left the extremist organization and live in Tirana that our daughter lives under conditions of torture and inhuman treatment by the MEK jihadists," says the Iranian-Canadian in his letter to Albanian Interior Minister Fatmir Xhafaj.

His appeal to the Albanian authorities is "think with your heart and understand the pain that a mother and father suffer when they see their daughter being held hostage by a violent and extremist group.”

The Iranian father says he has filed a lawsuit with Albanian authorities over alleged MEK kidnapping but his daughter has responded by initiating legal action over alleged persecution.

 

 ‘Father is undercover agent,’ daughter claims

In a letter published on Albanian media, Somayeh Mohammadi claims her father is a undercover agent of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security and that the real reason he is in Albania is to undertake undercover operations against MEK, which the Iranian government considers a terrorist organization for about four decades now.

Somayeh says she voluntarily left Canada in 1998 like many Iranians to join MEK seeking freedom and democracy for Iran.

She claims her father surprisingly told Canadian media she was being held hostage by MEK after meeting her at the Ashraf camp in Iraq in 2002, 2003 and 2004. "He created online propaganda blogs allegedly belonging to me and put other pressure to force me to surrender and collaborate with the Iranian authorities,” she says in her letter to Albanian authorities.

Somayeh says she has published her whole story in a book available in Persian and English unveiling efforts by Mostafa Mohammedi to abuse her, and claims that her father had a role as an undercover Iranian agent in the Ashraf and Liberty camp killings in Iraq.

"The presence of Mostafa Mohammad in Albania is very troubling for me. I am not concerned about myself, but the security of my friends in Albania. His presence shows that the Iranian regime is seeking to engage in other heinous plotting against us in Albania," she says in her letter to the Albanian Interior Minister, asking him to ban her father from staying in Albania.

In another interview with local Albanian media, the Iranian-Canadian father claims that the letter signed by his daughter and published on Albanian media was written by Mujahedeen leaders who don't want her to joint her family.

"I am not an Iranian agent. I am a Canadian citizen and parent who wants to free his daughter from the kidnapping of the Iranian jihadist group,” he says.

 

MEK in Albania

 Albania’s decision to accommodate 3,000 MEK members in the past few years has angered official Tehran who has banned them from Iran since 1981.

Mujahedin e Khalq members are opponents of Iran’s regime. Following the Islamic revolution of 1979, MEK supported Saddam Hussein in the 1980s war between Iraq and Iran.

MEK had been on the list of terrorist organizations for several years by the United States until it was finally removed from the list in 2012 after the dissident group supported the U.S in military operations in the Middle East and in its fight against terrorism.

Relations between Albania and Iran date back to the 19th and 20th century when several Albanian Renaissance poets where inspired by Persian culture and Bektashism, an ultra-liberal mystical Muslim sect with roots in Sufism and Shia Islam that is also present in Albania, to promote Albanian independence.

Iran is represented in Albania with its own embassy while the Saadi Shirazi cultural foundation has been present in Albania since the early 1990s promoting ties between Albania and Iran.

 
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                    [post_date] => 2018-08-01 18:41:27
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-08-01 16:41:27
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Aug. 1 - In three consecutive sessions, different bodies of the Independent Qualification Commission issued the decisions to oust High Court judge Artan Broci and current Tirana Prosecutor Dritan Rreshka, while the other High Court member Medi Bici was re-confirmed to office.

The first decision was given to Broci, for whom during the hearing several doubts were raised concerning his available assets, some apartments, office space and investments in Treasury Bonds.

Questions were also raised concerning some cases of conflict of interest, as Mr. Broci had tried civil cases of companies with which he had, before or after court proceedings, various business relationships, or donation benefits.

The High Court member reacted harshly following the decision that currently leaves him out of the judicial system, accusing the commissioners of executing the prime minister's political orders while saying he had provided proof of the legitimacy of his income.

Another IQC body subsequently confirmed the other High Court member Medi Bici, who passed the wealth declaration test and professional and moral integrity tests without any problems.

With Tuesday’s ruling, the number of High Court members is reduced from 19 to just four, including recently re-confirmed Head of the High Court Xhezair Zaganjori. Virtually all three branches of this court are non-functional and can only work for cases of security measures.

Third in line, Tirana’s current head of the Prosecution Office Dritan Rreshka was also ousted due to issues with his wealth declarations, for which he extensively argues with the IQC during the hearing. 

 
                    [post_title] => High Court, Tirana’s prosecution lose two more judges under vetting process 
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                    [post_date] => 2018-08-01 18:33:10
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Aug. 1 - The opposition’s Democratic Party reacted on Wednesday following the Independent Qualification Commission’s decision to re-confirm the Serious Crimes judge Dritan Hallunaj, who in 2015 decided businessman Arben Frroku, accused of killing the police commissar Dritan Lamaj, was innocent. 

The DP brought up statements made in the past by US Ambassador Donald Lu on the issue, as well as the fact that high-ranking courts later found Frroku guilty and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

During Hallunaj’s hearing, the IQC explained it had investigated the case and that it had not found any procedural violations, while explaining the profound difference of decision compared to other courts was related, according to the IQC, with the subjectivity of evidence evaluation.

However, for the DP the release from prison of someone like Frroku, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in all later stages of trial, is sufficient reason to oust Hallunaj from duty.

“If judges are confirmed to duty despite having released murderers and individuals tied to organized crime from prison then the vetting will fail to restore people’s trust in the justice system,” PM Enkelejd Alibeaj said.  

 
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                    [post_date] => 2018-08-01 18:29:14
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Aug. 1 - The vetting process of the State Police, Guard of the Republic and Internal Affairs Service that was expected to begin in August will take at least one more month to start, sources from the Ministry of Interior have confirmed.

In addition to delays in selecting five members through an open call for the Technical Secretariat, which will be part of the re-evaluation bodies, the need to train these judges throughout several weeks and create the necessary infrastructure to maintain the process is added to the challenges the police vetting is facing.

The hearings that will re-evaluate police officials are going to be open to the public and are expected to take place in the Academy of Security.

The external re-evaluation commission, which will scan the first 300 high-rank police officials, consists of five High Inspectorate for Wealth Declaration inspectors, five Tirana University professors, as well as five members appointed through an open call.

However, none of the external re-evaluation commission members’ names is made so far public by the Ministry of Interior, although the deadline to do so has passed.

Sources from the Ministry of Interior say the police vetting will begin in September, and that the selection of the commission’s members has been done by a ministry representative, as well as representatives of the State’s Information Service, the People’s Advocate and the Commissioner for the Protection against Discrimination and the Protection from Personal Data. 

Meanwhile, the country’s opposition Democratic Party has said the process is a joke for not giving the names of its members’ to the parliamentary commission established to oversee the process.

 
                    [post_title] => Police vetting postponed due to unestablished commissions 
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            [7] => WP_Post Object
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                    [ID] => 138142
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2018-08-01 15:49:35
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-08-01 13:49:35
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Aug. 1 - The opposition, government and independent economic experts have followed the State Department’s 2018 Investment Climate report rating Albania as a difficult place to do business according to foreign investors with opposing comments and sentiments.

“Albania is not a hospitable country for foreign investments. There have been no serious foreign investments in the past five years. There is a lot of political clientelism and kleptocracy, as well as pressure. Five years ago, when a new road was built, foreign companies competed for its construction, while for the last five years there is almost no foreign company interested in winning a public procurement in Albania,” said BIRN analyst Gjergj Erebara.

The State Department report says that in Albania, foreign investors and businessmen cite corruption as a major problem, particularly evident in the judicial system, lack of transparency in public procurement and poor implementation of contracts.

“This report is essentially a reconfirmation of a sordid economic reality that Albania is going through: slow economic growth with an economy that grows under its capacity, with a frequently changing legal framework, with abusive governmental decision-making favoring lobbies and large oligarch and kleptocratic accompanying it,” said the Head of the Centre for Economic Research Zef Preci.

The report assesses the implementation of the justice reform is verifying judges and prosecutors for unexplained wealth, but foreign investors perceive the investment climate as problematic and say Albania remains a difficult place to do business.

Erebera added that public-private partnership (PPP) projects are in huge proportions compared to the economy, where four road projects are 711 million euros, or 6 percent of Albania's GDP. Large amounts of money are thrown into few projects and procurement procedures allow suspicion for political clientelism, corruption and pre-selected winners.

“This system is pure political clientelism. It is like a medieval economy, where the king determines who will use the forest, who will collect the taxes, who will use the coal, who will use the coast. So everything is in the hands of an all-powerful person who is called prime minister and he does not provide what the US calls checks and balances, there are no constitutional balances,” Erebara said. 

The report stresses that big foreign investors are pressured to hire subcontractors associated with politicians, while reports on corruption in the government’s public procurement practices are commonplace. 

The report also says that PPP projects have narrowed competition opportunities, including competition among foreign investors in infrastructure and other sectors.

“PPP projects are deep distortions of competition, as the winners are known in advance and the competition is entirely formal. The government should make sure to use the parliament as a guard that protects contracts of this nature, so it avoids punishment in the future, hiding behind collegial decision-making. Most of them are unsolicited bids, meaning the government ignores or does not have plans to develop sectors and different branches of the economy,” Preci said.

In addition, according to the report, investors complain that unstable laws and officials’ difficult regulations are tools to remove foreign investors and favor politically-tied companies.

The opposition’s head of the Democratic Party Lulzim Basha said Albania is lacking foreign investments because it is pressured to cooperate with its clientele businesses. 

“Albania is not a suitable place for American businesses because of widespread corruption, especially in PPP projects and procurement, lack of rule of law and lack of competition,” Basha said.

Meanwhile, Minister for Finance Arben Ahmetaj said the axis of the report is the justice reform, which the opposition should stop trying to block.

“The report clearly states that corruption is grounded and stems from the judicial system and this has ruined the terms of doing business. The report states that if the reform is fully implemented, the business climate will improve rapidly,” Ahmetaj said.

Transparency International's Perception of Corruption Index for 2017 ranked Albania 91 out of 180 countries, a downturn of eight percent a year earlier. As such, Albania is now perceived as the second most corrupt country in the Western Balkans.

 
                    [post_title] => Independent experts back US report on Albania’s corrupt business climate
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                    [ID] => 138148
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2018-07-31 15:59:42
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-07-31 13:59:42
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, July 31 -  The opposition’s Democratic Party released on Monday documents alleging that Independent Qualification Commission member Lulzim Hamitaj falsified his English language certificate, thus demanding his resignation and the initiation of a penal investigation towards him by the prosecution.

According to DP MP Enkelejd Alibeaj, when Hamitaj applied for lecturer at Tirana’s European University, his CV announced an elementary, B1 level knowledge of English, while among the documents submitted to the re-evaluation bodies there was a proof dating in 2015 that he possesses high, C1 level knowledge of the English language.

Moreover, the DP claims that Hamitaj was not in Albania at the time he claims to have given the C1 exam that would grant him a language certificate.

“These facts create a reasonable conviction that Lulzim Hamitaj, Commissioner at the Independent Qualification Commission, has cheated state bodies and used a fake document in order to secure the qualification in the competition. This serious fact shows that he does not enjoy the right moral integrity to exercise the important task in the vetting bodies,” the DP’s announcement claimed.

According to the DP’s legal expert Gazmend Bardhi, the IQC should begin the necessary procedures to fire Hamitaj, while the prosecution should begin a penal investigation, as using false documents foresees four years of imprisonment as punishment.

There has been no reaction to the facts published by the DP so far, either by the IQC or by Hamitaj himself. 

Meanwhile, the General Prosecution Office announced through a brief statement that it “requested the assessment of the case by forwarding it to the competent prosecution office for investigation.”

 
                    [post_title] => Opposition seeks sacking of vetting body member over alleged English skills lie
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                    [ID] => 138145
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2018-07-31 15:00:51
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-07-31 13:00:51
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, July 31 - On the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, the line for children’s counseling Alo 116 published a report stating that abuse and trafficking of Albanian children continues at alarming levels.

The stream of denouncement calls to this 24-hour service is still very high for cases of violence against children, domestic violence, physical abuse and economic exploitation.

According to the report, what is actually denounced at the counseling line is just the tip of the iceberg.

Police reported that during 2015- 2017, about 50 children were victims of trafficking, but non-governmental organizations claim that part of the trafficking scheme are more than 2,500 children that live in street and are exploited for work, becoming potential victims of undocumented abuse.

Alo 116 Counseling Line Director Mirgit Vataj says this is the reason why Albania continues to be considered a source of victims of trafficking in persons.

According to police data, 365 children were estimated missing in the last 3 years, 353 of whom were found and returned to their families; these children could have been victims of human trafficking while they were missing, while 12 of them have not yet been found.

Domestic violence, physical abuse, economic exploitation, bullying among children, the problems they face in school with teachers and with each other are some of the most common concerns reported in the child counseling line.

Orphans, children living in troubled families or witnessing domestic violence and those who live with one parent due to the other’s arrest or imprisonment are also vulnerable to trafficking.

Observers believe that now that Albania has a new law on the protection of children, which is in the phase of issuing secondary legislation, it is also best to review all the institutions and problems of this field. 

They believe that the three main institutions - family, society and education institutions - are still unable to coordinate for child development, while community services are lacking in local branches of government. 

 
                    [post_title] => Albania: source of victims of trafficking in persons, report says 
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            [post_date] => 2018-08-08 14:09:39
            [post_date_gmt] => 2018-08-08 12:09:39
            [post_content] => TIRANA, Aug. 7 - Although the justice reform’s Independent Qualification Commission reconfirmed to duty the Head of the High Court Xhezair Zaganjori last week, the International Monitoring Operation, monitoring body composed of European and US experts, recommended to the Public Commissioners to appeal the IQC’s decision on Monday.

Through an official announcement, the Public Commissioners said that after they receive a written notice of the IQC’s decision, they will look into it alongside the IMO’s recommendation.

The decision to reconfirm Zaganjori was taken on July 24, giving the IQC 30 days, 

according to the law, to give a written notice to the commissioners, who then have fifteen days to decide if they will approve the appeal.

It is still unclear why the IMO suggested to appeal the decision, although the IQC itself mentioned a series of problems that it had found during an in-depth investigation in Zaganjori’s wealth. 

According to the report read during the initial hearing, Zaganjori had made inaccurate, insufficient and fictitious statements, while also lacking the financial sources statements for an apartment owned by him in the centre of Tirana, an office, a basement and a shop.

All these properties were included in one single building which, according to Zaganjori, was not purchased but built on land inherited by his wife’s family.

However, the IQC also raised allegations that he had not paid his state obligations from collected rents and that there were discrepancies in the cost he’d declared for his children’s education, which the IQC says was higher.

Zaganjori, who, in addition to monthly salaries and rent, had also declared high financial earnings from working at an institute in Germany, said he’d offered the IQC 40 pages worth of explanations for all questions raised during the process, and asked to be reconfirmed to duty.

The case of Zaganjori is similar to that of the head of the Constitutional Court Bashkim Dedja. The latter was also reconfirmed by the IQC and again the IMO requested the decision to be appealed.

 
            [post_title] => IMO appeals decision to re-appoint Head of High Court to duty 
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