In an interview with Voice of America in Prishtina, Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Hoyt Brian Yee has commented on the refusal of the Albanian government to remove the immunity of former Minister of Interior Saimir Tahiri. According to Yee, the Albanian government should give the right example in war on organized crime, drug trafficking and corruption in order to maintain the support of the US.
Responding to a question regarding the US government’s position toward the Tahiri–Habilaj affair, Yee declared:
First, the law should apply to everyone alike, no one should be above the law, no one should enjoy immunity from the law. We fully support the prosecutors and judges, which perform the investigations and convictions, anywhere they might bring them, to higher or lower levels of the administration.
We don’t believe that individuals should be targeted because they belong to one or the other political party, but the fundamental principle is that no one should be above the law.
Second, we support the government to set the example. The government is the one that should set the example and to demonstrate before the citizens that it is dedicated to fight corruption, whether of citizens, officials, rulers, foreigners, Albanians… and that Albania is serious in its attempts to fight corruption.
The declarations of Yee come after days of silence from the US embassy in Tirana, which normally is the first to speak out against organized crime and corruption.