Opposition Parties Dismayed at Saimir Tahiri’s Sentence Saimir Tahiri (left) and Edi Rama (right)

The opposition condemned yesterday’s court verdict that dropped all prosecution charges on former Minister of Interior Saimir Tahiri, and gave him a suspended sentence on a different charge.

Tahiri stood accused of international drug trafficking, participation in a “structured criminal organization”, and “criminal activity under a structured criminal organization.”

The Serious Crime Court dropped all the three charges, and sentenced his to 5 years in prison for abuse of office. The sentence is reduced to 3 years and 4 months due to the abbreviated trial. However, the court decided to put Tahiri on probation for three years, and he will not serve time in prison.

Lulzim Basha of the opposition Democratic Party called the court verdict “shameful”, adding that “justice in Albania is hostage to Edi Rama and Edi Rama is hostage to the crime.”

“Today’s verdict confirms that Edi Rama did everything to protect Saimir Tahiri because Saimir Tahiri is holding Rama hostage with corruption files and his [Rama’s] ties to crime, starting with the Xibraka cocaine file, in which Edi Rama’s brother is involved.

There won’t be justice in Albania as long as Edi Rama heads the government, the criminals and powerful will be untouchable, Albania will remain hostage to crime and Albanians will be poorer and jobless.”

The opposition Socialist Movement for Integration (LSI) stated that the verdict showed “justice is taken hostage by organized crime and Edi Rama is hostage of Saimir Tahiri and criminal structures.”

In their statement, the LSI also claimed Rama was protecting Tahiri due to the latter’s alleged blackmailing with evidence on the Prime Minister and his family members’ involvement in criminal activities.

“The project to plant cannabis throughout the country, and the international drug trafficking was Edi Rama’s political project because Edi Rama is “the Big Boss” who designed and order this devastating project for the country, which tarnished Albania’s history in the world media. It is proved that with Edi Rama [in power] there is no justice, organized crime feels strong, safe and protected.”

Prime Minister Edi Rama has no reacted to the court verdict on one of his past closest allies.