Journalist’s Car Attacked, Police Accused of Misinformation

Writer and journalist Fatos Lubonja’s car was attacked with a rock by a person who was allegedly trying to escape the police.

Fatos Lubonja has been a critic of the alleged state capture by Prime Minister Edi Rama, government corruption and links to criminal activities and groups.

Police released a statement, after the news broke online, denouncing the “media noise” around “the damaging of the windshield of Mr F. Lubonja’s car.”

“In response to the media noise carried out in relation to the damaging of the windshield of Mr F. Lubonja’s car, the State Police clarifies that […]”

Police further stated that a mentally impaired person had “damaged the windshield of a parked car” using “a hard object”, while police officers were trying to detain him as he was walking around with a knife and threatening passersby.

Fatos Lubonja had not commented on the attack until the police issued the statement, which he then denounced as “shockingly untrue”, adding that the attack was inspired by Prime Minister Edi Rama’s continuous denigration and threatening of journalists.

“I learned that we are dealing with the same mentally impaired person who has previously attacked members of my family, while offending my opinions as journalist […] I didn’t think he was directly encouraged by anyone, but I could surely not avoid thinking that people like the Prime Minister should feel responsible for this attack, for working day and night to denigrate, delegitimize, demean my and other colleagues’ work by calling us “trash bins”, “professional slanderers” and anti-Albanians” […]

What pushed me to issue this statement is the announcement by the Police, which presents the situation as if the person had no intention to attack my car, but instead as if he had hit by accident a car parked on the street while trying to escape the police. This is shockingly untrue and it shows in the hands of kind of police lies the truth and right, as well as justice in our country.

[…] There is no doubt that the person hit my car knowing his target very well and having negative feelings toward me and my family. The most grave [issue] in this story is that instead of investigating with professionalism and responsibility in protecting citizens’ lives and integrity, the police presented a completely untrue version of the event. Sources from the police told [me] that they had reached the conclusion that the said person was influenced [in his action] by Lubonja’s public opinions, but it seems that decisions from above have brought to the shameful announcement that indirectly encourages the aggressor.”

Fatos Lubonja is a writer and political dissident, who spent over 17 years in prison under the communist regime in Albania. He has been a critic of all governments in the country, including the current government of Prime Minister Edi Rama.

The police statement diminishing the relevance of the attack against Lubonja comes after Rama defended his language and activity against journalists and free media, calling them “divas” making “fake heroic gestures”.  

Recently, Rama passed what he calls an “anti-defamation package”, which, if approved in Parliament, will place significant restrains on the free media in Albania.