From: Exit Staff
Court of Appeal Upholds 10-Year Sentence for Drug Lord Klement Balili

The Serious Crimes Court of Appeal upheld a 10-year prison sentence on Klement Balili, an international drug trafficker labeled “the Balkans’ Escobar” by the media.

On Thursday, the court upheld Balili’s sentence in May 2019 on four charges: drug trafficking, membership in a criminal group, lack of justification for his assets and money laundering.

The prosecution had demanded an 18-year sentence for Balili. The first instance court sentenced him to 15 years, which was reduced by one third,due to Balili’s request for an abbreviated trial.

In January 2019, Klement Balili decided to turn himself in to the Albanian police after he had been at large for more than two years.

Balili is also wanted by the Greek police for crimes committed in that country. An arrest warrant was issued by the Greek police in May, 2016, when Balili was working for the Albanian government as Director of Roads Transportation in Saranda city. The Albanian police did not arrest him at that time. He was dismissed from his public office and then fled.

Whilst he was at large, the media published photos and videos of Balili cruising the coast of Albania and attending a wedding in the companionship of the head of the Socialist Party in Tepelena. More than two years later, Balili decided to give himself in to the police.

Despite a Greek arrest warrant weighing on him, Balili was tried in Albania because the two countries do not have an extradition agreement. The ruling socialist majority changed the Albanian law in May 2018 and prohibited extraditions. The changed law benefited several notorious Albanian criminals who were wanted in other countries.