New Police Unit Can Intercept Citizens Communications Without Court Order

Under the new “anti-corruption” law introduced by the Albanian government, the police, under the de facto control of Prime Minister Edi Rama will be able to intercept any individuals communications for three to six months without a court order. 

All telephone and internet communications will be able to be intercepted, tracked, and logged and individuals can be tracked in public places. They will also be able to be tracked via the use of special devices and to surveil them in a range of locations. This can be done with the approval of a Director in the local or central police and with no need for the decision of a prosecutor or judge.

Other provision included in the law include:

  • The police will have the right to order the confiscation of a passport and any other travel document. This order is communicated to the prosecutor who then sends it to the court within 48 hours.
  • An individual’s property can be investigated if there is reason to believe their standard of living exceeds their means. Spouses, children, and cohabitants over five years old are also included in this provision.
  • Police can acquire private information including bank accounts, civil records, property holdings, business shares, and other data from both state and private entities, without the permission of the court or prosecutor.
  • The police may seize the evidence collected depending on the Prosecutor’s order. The evidence collected from them will be used according to the prosecutor’s assessment.
  • The new structures and procedures created by this package duplicate and assume the powers vested in the anti-corruption and anti-corruption prosecution service SPAK and the National Bureau of Investigation (BKH).

The “anti-corruption” package has created a special unit (OFL) and placed it under the control of the Prime Minister. It operates independently of the justice system and without any supervision. Creating a secret police and intelligence service, this unit is able to wield their powers unchecked, leaving it wide open to political abuse and intimidation. 

The Democratic Party, which called the law unconstitutional, reacted against the law today. The Secretary General of DP, Bardhi said that:

“Edi Rama is replacing the rule of law with a police regime, in violation of the Constitution and in flagrant violation of human rights.”