Albania – Former Prosecutor says US Ambassador asked him to arrest President Ilir Meta

US AMbassador in Albania Donald Lu and General Prosecutor Adriatik Llalla
US AMbassador in Albania Donald Lu and General Prosecutor Adriatik Llalla

Tirana, Apr 12 (Tirana Echo) – Albania’s former general prosecutor Adriatik Llalla, has said US Ambassador to Tirana Donald Lu asked him last year to arrest Ilir Meta, Albania’s current President and former Speaker of Parliament.

Llalla, who has been banned from entry to the US under Section 7031(c) of the FY 2017 Consolidated Appropriations Act and is currently under investigation himself over corruption charges in Albania, has revealed an 18-page document sent to US Congress in May 2017 where the former prosecutor claim US Ambassador to Tirana Donald Lu urged him to arrest President Ilir Meta, who at the time was serving as Speaker of the Parliament.

In the document which can be readily accessible on the official website of the American Congress, Llalla referred to a meeting between him and Ambassador Lu in May 2015.

In a letter sent to US Congressional Vice-Commission for Europe and Asia, led by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, Llalla states that:

At this meeting, Ambassador Lu demanded the Prosecutor General’s intervention to influence prosecutors not to oppose the justice reform project. Among other things, in an unprovoked way and against the norms of the Vienna Convention, Ambassador Lu suggested to the General Prosecutor the arrest of the President of the Assembly, at the same time the head of the SMI, Ilir Meta. In Mr. Lu’s observations, Speaker of the Assembly Meta was corrupt and hindering justice reform. His possible arrest could help Albania to integrate faster into the European Union.

In the letter, Llalla says there was no evidence for such a high profile arrest and that this irresponsible claim forced him to end the meeting, adding that the request of the US Ambassador was not logical and that the arrest of senior officials without evidence could jeopardize political and social stability in the country.

Revelations of the shocking request to arrest a high profile politician in Albania come hours after the publication of a report by Freedom House which criticized Albanian prime minister Edi Rama’s increasing authoritative tendencies adding that the war against corruption received a blow with the election of Ilir Meta as President of the Republic on April 28, whose presidency was assured by the votes of Rama’s ruling Socialist Party.

Albania’s President has lashed out at the report calling it bias and at the service of political agendas in the country.

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