Mirel Mertiri has sued BIRN in a Tirana court seeking compensation for non-pecuniary and existential damage.
The lawsuit came after a BIRN article was published about incinerators. Mertiri also requests the deletion of this article.
He claims that the article contains insulting allusions and labels, which have denigrated the figure and damaged his personal, family, social and property life.
Mertiri considers the facts in writing unfounded, as long as according to him there is no decision by the competent institutions to charge him with criminal or administrative responsibilities.
BIRN, meanwhile, stated that it stands by the published article and is ready to face in court all the plaintiff’s allegations.
“In our estimation, this is a SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) lawsuit, a lawsuit which aims to censor and intimidate. We stand by the published facts and will continue to publish journalism that is in the public interest, whether for incinerators or any other concession business,”said BIRN Executive Director Kristina Voko.
Speaking on the show ‘In a few words’ with Neritan Sejamini, Aleksandra Bogdani, a jouranlist with BIRN who has previously researched the companies benefiting from the concessions of incinerators in Tirana, Elbasan and Fier, explained that behind the three companies, there is the same person:
“Behind all three companies stands Mirel Mërtiri, a person with political connections both left and right and who has a well-defined friendship with Minister Arben Ahmetaj.”
In June of this year, Nisma Thurje filed a report with SPAK against the Fier incinerator. It’s alleged that Mertiri is wanted in Zimbabwe for corruption- an accusation he denies.