Albanian Police Arrest Suspect in Assassination Attempt against Prosecutor

Albanian police has arrested one of the suspects in the assassination attempt against prosecutor Arian Ndoja and two other persons.

Today Redjan Rraja, 34, was arrested while he was reportedly trying to leave for Montenegro.

The suspect is a relative of Socialist Party MP Rrahman Rraja.

Durrës prosecutor Arian Ndoja was among three people wounded on November 1 in an assassination attempt. It’s not clear yet whether the prosecutor was the main target. Two more people were present in prosecutor’s car: his driver Andi Maloku and Aleksandër Laho aka Pëllumb Muharremi, a person with a criminal past.

The attempt on Ndoja’s life came only weeks after the verbal attacks of Prime Minister Edi Rama and Deputy Prime Minister Erion Braçe against the prosecutor, after he kept Durrës Cadaster Director Liridon Pula to pre-trial detention. During a speech in Parliament on October 9, the Prime Minister attacked the judiciary by calling it a “criminal organization”.

Redjan Rraja, the suspect arrested today, was previously involved in two other cases that also got extensive media attention.

One year ago, former police officer and whistle blower Emiljano Nuhu accused Socialist MPs Rahman Rraja and Taulant Balla, as well as other Socialist officials, of protecting Rexhep Rraja, the son of the MP, who was suspected of violence against his girlfriend and rape.

Nuhu said he was threatened at gunpoint by relatives of MP Rraja inside the police station, while both MPs were present. He reported the threat to a police station in Tirana but nothing happened. Nuhu left his job, fled the country and sought political asylum in Europe.

He reported to the police that Redjan and Ramazan Rraja told him the following, after they introduced themselves as relatives of the Socialist MP and his son:

“We can destroy the whole police station and you are nothing to us. We are going to eliminate you and your family, if you ever try to question any of our relatives. We will eliminate you and your family within 24 hours if you continue to mess with us. We don’t want to see you in Fushë-Krujë. We write the laws in Fushë-Krujë, and not you.”

When the case became public, Prime Minister Edi Rama attacked the whistle blower, calling the former police officer “a scoundrel turned hero.” Rama added that Nuhu “abandoned his duty and took advantage of the situation to acquire asylum” but that “[he] will not be free of us.”

Redjan Rraja was sentenced to 8 months in prison for giving false information and hiding evidence regarding the murder of Elton Çiço in 2016. He was sitting with Çiço when the latter was shot dead. The court found that Rraja had hidden his murdered friend’s gun and cellphone from the police.

Another relative of the same Socialist MP walked home free after brutally abusing a woman in August this year.

Prime Minister Edi Rama congratulated the police today, he stated the government is going to present a special law on those involved in serious crimes, as well as “special measures” against judges and prosecutors involved in criminal activities.

Socialist MP Rrahman Rraja said they were second grade relatives with Redjan Rraja, whilst adding that he didn’t know him personally. The MP called for a harsh sentence for the culprits in the assassination attempt against the prosecutor.

Opposition leader Lulzim Basha argued that the involvement of a relative of the Socialist MP showed once again that “this is clearly a war between different gangs in power.” He added that Albanians need early elections in order to “take back their dignity.”