Political circles in Albania react to German-published wiretaps alleging govt-mafia ties

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 8, 2019 12:16

Political circles in Albania react to German-published wiretaps alleging govt-mafia ties

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  • Meta stressed that the Constitution protects the citizens' fundamental right to information and that freedom of expression, press, radio and television is guaranteed and that it bans premeditated censorship of the media.

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TIRANA, June 7 – Albanian President Ilir Meta said on Thursday evening that he is paying close attention to the publications of the German newspaper “Bild” containing telephone conversations during the 2017 parliamentary election campaign between several public officials in Durres and persons with criminal precedents, as well as to the prosecution order which seeks the prohibition of their publication in the media.

“Issuing such an order indirectly intimidates the free media, which is unacceptable for a democratic society,” Meta noted in his response.

He stressed that the Constitution protects the citizens’ fundamental right to information, that freedom of expression, press, radio and television is guaranteed and that it bans premeditated censorship of the media.

“No warrant can have authority over this fundamental constitutional right of free and independent media,” Meta said.

He urged the prosecution to investigate with priority and professionalism the public file, as well as any other file related to manipulation of elections or intimidation of citizens in order to deform their free will and distort the election result.

“Any delay in investigating and clarifying the truth by the prosecution does not serve the general public interest,” Meta added.

He also urged all journalists to denounce any criminal offense they might be aware of.

Political circles in Tirana addressed again on Friday with concern telephone conversations between the main leaders of the Socialist Party and the municipalities of Durrës and Shijak with members of criminal groups during the election campaign two years ago.

One of the most prominent persons of the crime scene in the Durres region was revealed having six conversations with the mayor, the most important Socialist Party representative in the second largest city of Albania, Vangjush Dako, as well as with leaders of other administrative bodies to influence the last elections through pressures, violence, threats, and vote buying.

For the Democratic Party, which has since February resigned its parliamentary mandates, Rama must leave office because the published materials constitute a scandal revealing the voting mechanism through international drug trafficking groups protected by the Socialist Party.

“An illegal Prime Minister, who came to power with the votes of crime, as confirmed by the recent wiretapping of Bild, not only does not consider his resignation, but is in defense of Vangjush Dako, going as far as to publicly threaten whoever publishes the secret of his cooperation with crime to buy votes. With or without his resignation, Edi Rama is no longer credible. Even those who believed in the mafia Prime Minister,  today are certain that everything happened with his blessing,” said Enkelejd Alibeaj of the Democratic Party.

The Socialist Movement for Integration also expressed concern about the wiretaps published by Bild. Its vice-president, Luan Rama, called them evidence of a crime state, just the peak of the iceberg of this criminal phenomenon spread all over Albania.

On the other hand, Socialist Party representatives are paying more attention to how these interviews were released to the media, calling it a legal violation related to secret state investigations.

Rama, during a visit to a quake-stricken area between Korcs and Erseka, ignored and left unanswered questions about these wiretaps published by Bild, while coming to the protection of Dako himself, saying that these wiretaps do not provide sufficient evidence to make assumptions that SP officials have been involved in vote-buying.

Meanwhile, on Friday, the prosecution at the Serious Crimes Court in Tirana announced that File 339, initiated in December 2016, contains accusations for 74 people in collaboration from production, sale and trafficking of narcotics to unlawful influence in the elections.

According to the head of this prosecution, Donika Prela, the first year the file was investigated only for “Narcotics Trafficking” in cooperation, as well as “Cleaning of Criminal Activity”, while the second year a second prosecutor added the accusations “structured crime,” “Conducting Criminal Offenses by Criminal Organization,” “Active and Passive Corruption of High State Officials or Local Elections.”

Subsequently, two other prosecutors added to the file another 40 names as well as additional charges such as “Exercise of illegal influence on persons exercising public functions,” “Falsifying documents,” “Falsifying stamps, signatures or stamps forms,” “Abuse of land,” etc, carried out in cooperation as a structured criminal group.

Parallel to investigations into criminal offenses in the electoral field, where the speed of CD discoloration has increased, another prosecutor has been added and investigations are also underway for the publication of secret investigative acts that are punishable by prosecution and undermine the continuation of investigations.


Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 8, 2019 12:16