Police seizes wealth of six Shkodra citizens under Operation Force of Law amendments

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times February 6, 2020 10:53

Story Highlights

  • The Special Law was adopted in the form of a normative act by the Government last Friday and introduced as a necessary intervention to crack down on organized crime assets and its members who have escaped justice in various forms, despite receiving criticism by various civil society and human rights organizations.

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TIRANA, Feb. 5 - Apartments, service units, land areas and various vehicles belonging to six people in the city of Shkodra were seized on Wednesday, by order of the Police Director Ardi Veliu using a point of the newly approved ‘anti-KCK’ (anti-Seize-Whatever you-Can) Law, aiming to seize the property of those convicted or charged with involvement in organized crime or other serious crimes. 

The law gives Veliu this right for cases considered emergent. 

The six people charged with property seizure are suspected to have been involved in one of the most serious recent incidents that took place a few weeks ago in Kamza, where 49-year-old Jang Prenga was abducted, held hostage and then lost his life to the torture of a suspected Shijak-based criminal group.

Earlier in the day, Operation Rule of Law announced that it had addressed two people with numerous criminal records to declare the source of their assets to two people named with numerous criminal precedents - Lulzim Berisha, considered the head of the Durres gang and Ardian Capja, one of the most popular Elbasan crime names.

Berisha, was originally sentenced to life in prison and charged with several murders, injuries and kidnapping. 

While the Supreme Court dropped his sentence to life in prison, the Durres Appeal later released him on bail, while former Durres Mayor Vangjush Dako offered bail for his employment.

Çapja, for his part, is one of the most well-known crime names in Elbasan, involved in numerous stories of violence and a series of murders, according to police, which even include ordered murders. 

“As a Special Law subject, these individuals must respond in writing, within 48 hours, to all Operation Force of Law (OFL) inquiries. Subsequently, replies will be sent to the SPAK, which within no more than 15 days must evaluate the file prepared by the OFL on the criminal activity of these entities, as well as their property. As soon as it makes this assessment, the SPAK should request the Special Court to seize the assets of the entities and, after seizure, in no more than six months the Special Court must decide on their eventual confiscation,” said an OFL representative, a unit prepared to fight organized crime.

“All convicts or defendants over the last 30 years, whose crimes are provided for in this law, shall pass the site of proof of the legality of their property. There will be no exceptions and any attempt to alienate property, using family or acquaintances, will burden both parties,” said the OFL representative while wearing large dark glasses covering most of her face, attempting to preserve her anonymity. 

The Special Law was adopted in the form of a normative act by the Government last Friday and introduced as a necessary intervention to crack down on organized crime assets and its members who have escaped justice in various forms, despite receiving criticism by various civil society and human rights organizations. 

This intervention has sparked widespread debate, and there has also been a lot of criticism that the harsh measures envisaged are likely to infringe on some fundamental rights and freedoms.

The law was praised by the US Embassy in Tirana and the Delegation of the European Union as an increased government effort to tackle the phenomenon of organized crime, but both sides said they would closely follow its implementation.

For the opposition, however, it seems that everything is simply "another propaganda act" of a government which, according to it, "is directly related to crime.”

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times February 6, 2020 10:53