Albania Former Interior Minister Under House Arrest

Saimir Tahiri and Edi Rama
Saimir Tahiri and Edi Rama

Tirana, Albania, May 16 (Tirana Echo) – Albania’s former controversial interior minister Saimir Tahiri has been placed under house arrest by the country’s Serious Crimes Court following an investigation on alleged drug trafficking involvement.

Prosecutors had initially asked for Tahiri to be imprisoned but the Court decided to leave him under house arrest instead. Tahiri denies any involvement and has asked for justice to serve its course and bring out the truth.

Earlier this month, Tahiri Tahiri gave up his parliamentary mandate amid allegations by opposition groups of involvement in drug trafficking and having stalled an investigation by prosecutor’s office.

Last year Albania’s Parliament lifted Tahiri’s immunity but the ruling socialist majority failed to approve an authorization for arrest, following a request by the Serious Crimes Prosecutor based on allegations of links with drug trafficking network in Italy. Ruling socialists accused former General Prosecutor Adriatik Llalla of serving a political witch-hunt by the opposition democrats.

The 38 year old Tahiri served as Albania’s interior minister during the first governing mandate of the Socialit Party in 2013-2017. He has been accused by the opposition of being linked to a drug trafficking cartel in charge of large amounts of shipped cannabis to Italy. Some of the ring’s leaders have been arrested in Sicily, Italy.

Tahiri’s case has been an embarrassement for Albanian socialist prime minister Edi Rama who, after a positive recommendation by the European Commission, hopes EU member countries will decide in June to formally open accession talks for membership with his small Balkan country.

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