Agron Tufa, head of the Institute for the Studies of Communist Crimes and its Consequences (ISKK) has sought asylum in Switzerland after threats related to his work.
Credible sources confirmed the news for Exit.
Tufa received death threats through Facebook in September 2019. Similar threats were also sent to his lawyer, Kujtim Cakrani.
“You ballists [WWII anti-communist nationalist political party members] and fascists who have become advocates of your own people, tarnishing and muddling the martyrs, you are the ones who needed to be killed before, so you could not sprout and be encouraged. There is no advocate on this earth who could wipe out their blood and defend that criminal institute (ISKK) with Agron Tufa and others in it, ‘cos you are worse scoundrels than the enemies you defend…
You and your ballist and fascist families won’t have a place with us anymore because you signed your doom with your own hands. The same way as you crawled slowly out of the sludge, unnoticeably, that’s how we will kill you slowly, the young and old ones because the mercy shown on you has been a grave mistake. The grave is waiting for you all!”
The Platform of European Memory and Conscience expressed their deep concerns on Tufa’s security when these threats were made public.
Tufa’s asylum request came at a time when Albania was celebrating its 75th anniversary of liberation from Nazi occupation. The communist dictator Enver Hoxha, as well as many other communist criminals were openly paid homage to in Tirana in November.
This summer, the Albanian Socialist Party majority, which is a direct descendant of the communist party that ruled the country for 55 years until 1991, proposed a ban on the studying of WWII communist crimes, a move that was deemed “unacceptable” by the head of the ISKK, Agron Tufa.
The Institute for the Study of Communist Crimes and its Consequences (ISKK) has published some research on archival documents, noting a number of non-judicial executions carried out by Communist forces.
The institute’s work has caused outrage with the ruling party. MP Spartak Braho, who previously worked for the communist judiciary, accused Tufa of insulting the anti-fascist resistance through the publication of books that claimed communist guerilla fighters committed war crimes.
It was shortly after this that Braho and other MPs proposed legal changes that would ban the institute from researching communist crimes. This also marks the time when threats against Tufa started to intensify.
Braho is not the only politician from the past regime. Speaker of Parliament Gramoz Ruçi was the last communist minister of interior, and Skënder Gjinushi, president of the Academy of Sciences, was the last minister of education.
“When we see countries that are recovering from Communism, the population often doesn’t believe that the Communists lost all the power. In Albania, that is not a belief, it is a reality.”
Almost three decades after the fall of communism in Albania, threats related to political views appears to be pushing public figures out of the country and into seeking asylum.