The appeal hearing of former Interior Minister Saimir Tahiri and former Vlora Police Director Jaeld Cela has been postponed for the fourth time.
The panel of judges, Albana Boksi, Nure Dreni, and Nertina Kosova decided to postpone the case as they deemed it not urgent. The courts are currently only seeing urgent cases due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
None of the defendants or their lawyers turned up to the hearing and no date was set for the next session.
In September 2019, the former Minister was found guilty of abuse of office but not guilty of collaboration with criminal groups, and drug trafficking. He was sentenced to five years in prison which was then reduced to three years and four months of probation.
The decision was appealed by the prosecution who demanded 12 years in prison, and by Tahiri who maintains his innocence.
The ruling was referred to by the US Embassy as “discouraging.”
The former minister then contracted an American reputation management firm to lobby the US to withdraw public statements by embassy staff in Albania, claiming that they could have influenced the authorities’ decision. He paid some EUR 20,000 for their services, around 18 months of salary in his ministerial role. Tahiri is believed to have been unemployed since March 2017.