Parliament approves gov’t proposal on harsh prison sentences

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times April 16, 2020 15:15

Parliament approves gov’t proposal on harsh prison sentences

TIRANA, April 16 - The Albanian Parliament has approved the government's proposal to make changes to the Criminal Code by introducing harsh prison sentences for violators of the Covid-19 measures. The draft law was approved by 88 votes during a special parliamentary meeting on Thursday, while 13 voted against it and one abstained.

The draft law was approved with several modifications since it was first proposed by the government last week, taking into consideration recommendations by the Legal Affairs Committe and President Ilir Meta. The latter sent a modified version of the draft of the proposed changes to the parliament, calling for milder sentences for violators, so as not to conflict with the Constitution.

In this line, the amended draft law stipulates that:

Violators of the government orders to whom an administrative measure has been previously imposed, is punishable by a fine or imprisonment of up to 6 months. The same offense, when committed in the exercise of commercial activity, thus endangering the health of people, is punishable by a fine or up to 2 years prison time.

Failure to comply with the quarantine or isolation order, or violation of quarantine rules, by the person carrying the infectious disease or not, is punishable by 2-3 years in prison. The intentional spread of an infectious disease with a high health risk , by a person who is a carrier of the disease or a person who intends to spread it, is punishable by 2-5 years in prison.

When this offense is committed through negligence, it is punishable by a fine or 2 years in prison. When this offense has caused serious consequences for people's lives, the violator is sentenced to 3-8 years in prison.


'We had a long but useful meeting with the National Security Council, to address this issue in time so as not to have obstacles or prolongation of the procedural nature. We also discussed it with the President, we coordinated [decisions] through the experts of the parliament and the legal office of the president, and with other parliamentary groups. A conclusion has been reached that addresses legitimate concerns expressed by other factors, and the legitimate need of the moment," Rama said during the meeting.


Opposition MP Rudina Hajdari said that she welcomes these improvements, but stressed that it is not the right time to change the Criminal Code as it is a time of pandemic. According to her, more time is needed for reflection so that the changes do not conflict with the Constitution and human rights.

Based on the original draft proposal, the violation of government measures under a state of natural disaster were to be punished by fine or up to 6 months prison time, while repeat violators were to be sentenced to a minimum of thirty days in prison, maximum one year.

Moreover, violators who caused the death of a person by not complying with government orders were to be sentenced from one to 5 years in prison, if the epidemiological investigation revealed that the person infected with coronavirus who lost his life, had contact with the person who violated the quarantine. If one did not comply with the quarantine order they would be punishable by fine or up to ten years in prison, while violators of quarantine order who caused serious consequences for someone’s health or life were to be sentenced from 3 to 10 years in prison.

Finally, violators who caused the death of a person by not complying with government order for quarantine were to be sentenced from 5 to 15 years in prison.

A group of thirty Civil society organizations expressed concern over the proposal, calling on the parliament to reject it. In a joint declaration released on Friday, the organizations stated that the proposal was inhumane, disproportionate and in violation of individual rights and freedom.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times April 16, 2020 15:15