The Court of Durrës has handed down convictions to 11 commissioners accused of electoral crimes during the 2017 general elections in Albania.
According to a report by BalkanWeb, 8 others have been placed under ‘house arrest’ and 3 are being investigated under the ‘obligation to appear’ measure.
Some of the defendants, who have pleaded guilty, have received a sentence reduction equivalent to 1/3 of the total sentence.
They were accused of letting people vote on behalf of persons who were not in Albania for elections.
The court also decided to remove the right to exercise public functions for 5 years to all of those convicted.
The persons under investigation are as follows:
Voting Center Commission no.1508
Shpëtim Stafa- PD – Chairman
Elidon Stafa- PS – Secretary
Voting Center Commission no.1335
Bashkim Allushi – SP – Chairman
Jakup Bregu – PD – Secretary
Voting Center Commission no.1336
Basir Bregu -PD – Chairman
Indrit Bici-SP – Secretary
These convictions and investigations form a part of File 339, a section of the Electiongate Scandal of 2019. A series of leaked prosecution wiretaps showed that Mayor of Durrës Vangjush Dako was involved in a vote-buying scheme with the Avdylaj criminal gang during the 2017 parliamentary elections.
In March of this year, the Durrës Prosecutor’s Office filed charges against the individuals who were accused of rigging 53 votes.
This conviction marks the conclusion of investigations into one of the two most controversial cases of suspected vote-rigging in Albania that have characterized the political landscape in the last two years. Investigations into the other case in Dibër were completed a few months ago, resulting in minor charges against four low-ranking local officials.
The prosecution of allegations of vote rigging in 2016 and 2017 elections is one of the conditions for Albania to start EU accession talks, highlighted in a European Parliament report this month.
Dako has not been charged with any crime, nor have any of the other senior government officials who appeared on the tapes.