Endrit Dokle, a gang member sentenced to life in prison for murder and being a member of a structured criminal organisation has been released on probation as per a decision by Kruja court judge Enkelejda Hoxha.
Dokle, number two in a notorious Durres gang was arrested in 2004 and sentenced to life in a high-security prison in Fushe Kruje.
Judge Hoxha had previously ruled that he could be transferred from the high-security prison to an ordinary prison, then to convert his life sentence to a 25-year sentence, and finally to release him on five years of probation as he had served most of his newly-reduced 25-year sentence.
The judge took into account good behavior in prison and the fact Dokle had secured an employment contract with a construction company owned by businessman Agim Cako.
The decision to release Dokle came after the Constitutional Court declined his request in 2017 to convert his life sentence to 25 years in prison.
Kruja prosecution has appealed the ruling and argued that Judge Hoxha had ruled in favor of Dokle on suspicious grounds and against the law. The prosecution is arguing that probation is not permitted for repeat offenders and for life sentences.
Dokle is just one of six criminals that have benefited from early release during the last few years.
Viktor Ymeri, a former member of a Vlora gang was released at the end of 2019. Lulzim Caka, leader of a Berat gang and convicted of five murders was released in early 2019.
Two other members of Durres gang, Lulzim Berisha and his brother-in-law Plaurent Dervishaj were charged with four murders. Berisha was released in 2016, six years earlier, after Durres Mayor Vangjush Dako offered him a job contract with the municipality. Dervishaj was never convicted.
Aldo Bare, leader of a gang in Lushnja was charged with five murders and sentenced to life in prison but in 2017 he was granted a retrial.
The list also contains Dritan Dajti, convicted of killing four policemen. He previously received four life sentences but after a retrial in February 2019, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison and could therefore be eligible to apply for release in the same as Dokle.
Dajti was found to have visited the Blloku area of Tirana for a medical appointment earlier in the week. After the media storm that ensued, the Minister of Justice fired a number of police and prison employees for breaching protocol and due process.