Basha: Prosecution’s Political Charges to Detract Attention From Rama’s Vote-Buying

The leader of Albania’s opposition Democratic Party (PD), Lulzim Basha, stated that prosecution charges against him were political and spearheaded by Prime Minister Edi Rama, in an attempt to silence the opposition and distract the public opinion from government’s criminal activities.

Using Putin’s methods, Edi Rama has decided to open investigations against me with ridiculous charges, fabricated badly by his political prosecution office.

Yesterday, three prosecutors ordered Basha to appear before them on Monday, to be presented with criminal charges and answer their questions as defendant in the case.

The case relates payments made by the PD to a US lobbying firm, a fraction of which the prosecutors claim were not declared in Albania. Charges against Basha were raised after their investigation found “elements” of falsification of state document and money laundering.

Prosecution charges against Basha come amidst a deepened political crisis in the country. Head of PD Lulzim Basha has been leading protests against Prime Minister Edi Rama since February, after the opposition left the parliament. The accuse Rama of vote-buying, links to criminal groups and corruption. Despite prosecution wiretaps leaking to the media, which appear to show collusion between high Socialist Party officials and criminal groups in buying votes, the prosecution have ordered no arrests.

In his statement yesterday, Basha stated that Rama’s attempts to silence political opponents and undermine democracy would unavoidably bring the end of his rule.

For over one and a half years, Edi Rama has been holding an absurd investigation in his hands – like a sword, – without any evidence or fact against the Democratic Party. Now that he is desperate to detract attention from the political crisis and scandals of collusion with crime in buying [votes in] elections, Edi Rama has decided to fabricate absurd charges in order to distract the public.

Basha listed the names of several ministers, family relatives of Rama, Socialist Party officials, mayors and MPs, whom he accused of crimes, collusion with crime or corruption, while denouncing the lack of prosecution investigations into them. He added that these individuals, as well as crime bosses and prosecutors at the service of Prime Minister will face the same end as Rama’ regime.

“Albanians are now seeing the true face of the politicized prosecution of Edi Rama: an institution that protects Rama and other corrupt officials and works only to fight the political enemies of the regime,” Basha stated.