From: Exit Staff
Albanian Judge: Former Minister of Interior Undermined Investigations into Threats to My Family

Judge Alaudin Malaj of the Tirana Court of Appeal has publicly accused former Minister of Interior Fatmir Xhafaj of having interfered with police investigations into a number of threat reports Malaj and his family has filed in the last four year. As a result of threats, Judge Malaj has demanded physical protection for his family in a letter sent to 11 high state institutions in Albania, Top Channel reported.

Judge Malaj has passed the vetting process under the justice reform in Albania.

He is reported to be the judge who revealed to the public that Agron Xhafaj, the former minister’s brother, was wanted in Italy after a jail sentence he had received in absentia for international drug trafficking. Agron Xhafaj was living in Albania until one year ago, while his brother was minister, when accusations surfaced that he was still involved in drug trafficking. After much pressure by the media, the Albanian government and Agron Xhafaj agreed for him to be sent to Italy and serve his sentence.

A few days ago, the court sentenced to jail 4 people for being involved in false accusations related to Agron Xhafaj: former opposition MP Ervin Salianji, journalist Jetmir Olldashi and two ex-convicts associated with minister’s brother. The opposition said sentences were political, and accused Judge Artan Gjermeni for ties to a criminal group and the ruling Socialist Party.

Judge Malaj said he was refused protection by the Albanian government, due to insufficient evidence that his and his family’s life was in danger.

In the interview, he stated that in 2015 his brother received death threats, and reports to the police went uninvestigated.

“My relatives have made reports, I have made reports. Do they expect to have a proof went they shoot me so they can provide me with protection? Are they waiting [for the same to happen to me] as it happened to [prosecutor] Arian Ndoja, and the other prosecutor in Vlora? When will there be evidence? When I am harmed?”

Three attacks have occurred against magistrates in Albania in less than two months. Prosecutor Albert Kulici’s car was blown up this weekend. Prosecutor Arian Ndoja was attacked with machine guns in early November. Judge Andri Ymeri’s car was set on fire in late November.