Former Minister of Interior Saimir Tahiri requested an abbreviated trial today, but the court postponed the session due to other defendants being not present.
An “abbreviated trial” is a concept in Albanian procedural law where the defendant has the right to be judged by an abbreviated trial. This type of trial involves an accelerated procedure that does not require the detailed examination of facts that were evidenced during the preliminary investigation. It benefits the defendant by allowing a reduction in sentence by up to 1/3 and not allowing the application of a life sentence.
Last month, drug lord Klement Balili also benefited from an abbreviated trial.
Saimiri Tahiri is being tried on charges of “participation in a structured criminal group,” “trafficking of narcotics,” and “passive corruption by high state officials”.
Three senior police officers of the Ministry of Interior also stand accused with the same charges, but they have been on the run since ties between the minister and a criminal group emerged in public. As a result, today’s court session was postponed to July 3.
Investigations have revealed that during his term in office, Prime Minister Edi Rama’s interior minister had practically turned the state police into a private police force at his and government’s service.
Speaking to journalists after the brief court session today, Tahiri said “I am the best minister and with the longest term in the history of democracy.”
Saimir Tahiri insisted that his request for an abbreviated trial does not mean that he pleads guilty of the charges. He added that he was put under a “political [trial] process,” and urged the court not to delay the verdict.
Former Minister of Interior Saimir Tahiri is the first minister in the history of Albania to face charges of participation in a criminal organization and international drug trafficking.
In October 2017, prosecutors sought Tahiri’s arrest on suspicions of committing the crimes of which he was later formally charged with.