The father of Prosecutor Eriselda Bala, whose behaviour has been described as “strange” and “unusually supportive” of the case of the Socialist Party vote collector and Kindergarten Director Nashi Shehapi, is the head of the Socialist Party in Fier.
Shehapi is accused of beating a three-year-old boy in her care and locking him in a cupboard under the stairs in Kindergarten No.1 in Tirana. When the accusations were first made against her, she boasted that she was politically connected and protected and that she would never end up in court.
She also allegedly threatened staff at Kindergarten No.1 and told them that if they spoke out against her, they would lose their jobs. Moreover, she allegedly told parents of children that attend the kindergarten that if they spoke out against her, their children would lose their place at the school.
Then in recordings leaked to Exit, staff members can be heard discussing Shehapi’s guilt and saying , saying that “everyone knows what she has done” and that “she has given money to the prosecution,” referring to Bala.
The staff members can also be heard saying how they are scared to denounce her actions as Shehapi is being protected politically by the Socialist Party, they fear wider reaching repercussions. They discussed how individuals such as Zhaneta Beqiri and Klotilda Ferhati were supporting her. Shehapi was then pictured with them on the campaign trail on the run up to the June 30 Elections.
A source then told Exit that Shehapi had hired “fixer” and private detective Marin Hoxhaj to ensure that the case was never opened in court.
Bala made no progress with the investigation of the case over the first three months and then recommended it was dismissed due to lack of evidence. The Judge found that her investigation was not sufficient and sent her away to investigate further. She then recommended the dismissal of the case again which the parents of the child are preparing to appeal.
Bala also refused to meet the parents of the child when they requested an update on the case- something she is obliged to do. Instead, it took the intervention of one of Bala’s colleagues, who called her “unreasonable”, for her to meet with them.
Now it comes to light that Bala’s father Baki Bala holds a significant position as the Head of the Socialist Party in Fier.
With her father in a powerful political position and considering the fact that Nashi is a vote collector for the PS, whose daughter works at the Municipality of Tirana, and who has been pictured on the PS campaign trail with a woman who is supposed to have disciplined her, the political links continue to add up.
In addition to this, Bala’s husband is a policeman working in Tirana, therefore employed by the government and with access to the police investigation.
The father of the child is an active member of the PD and the uncle of the child is also a high-ranking member of PD who was recently arbitrarily detained for five months before being released without charge. When Nashi was first accused of the abuse, her first line of defense was that they were accusing her for political reasons rather than the fact the child had bruising on his arm, was traumatised, and to this day states that she assaulted him.
The lawyer representing the child and his family remarked that he had “never seen a prosecutor try to protect an accused as much as in this case”.
He also described her actions as unprofessional, strange, and unusual and commented on the fact that Shehapi had not hired a lawyer so far, instead appearing in the pre-trial hearings on her own.