No Justice, Tahiri Released

The Serious Crimes Appeals Court has ruled for the second time in favor of Saimir Tahiri, who has been released from house arrest. He will be able to await his trial for corruption and membership of a criminal organization in freedom.

The Appeals Court, consisted of Saida Dollani (chair), Sokol Binaj, and Fehmi Petku. Dollani and Binaj were also responsible for the verdict that returned Tahiri his passport.

The ruling of the Appeals Court in favor of Tahiri comes after Temporary Prosecutor General Arta Marku illegally dismissed Serious Crimes Prosecutor Besim Hajdarmataj, who was responsible for the Tahiri case, replacing him with Donika Prela. Prela is known as a close associate of Marku, who was illegally nominated by the government.

The verdict follows a warning by US Ambassador Donal Lu about “serious pressures” on the judges:

We have heard several reports from independent sources about serious pressures in this case, also including bribes that have been offered to the judges. We call upon civil society and the media to follow this case attentively.

With its ruling, the Appeals Court has clearly shown that for well-placed politicians the justice system uses a different measure than for ordinary people. It remains to be seen whether Dollani, Binaj, and Petku will pass the vetting.