On Friday, a group of thirty human rights organizations called on the Albanian parliament to reject the government’s proposal for harsh sentences for violators of quarantine.
On Thursday, the government of Edi Rama proposed changes to the Criminal Code that impose fines and prison sentences up to 15 years for violators of quarantine and curfews imposed by government under state of emergency.
Civil society organizations, including the Albanian Helsinki Committee, considered the proposal to be inhumane, disproportionate and in violation of individual rights and freedom.
In a joint statement, they noted that changes are being sought without relying on any in-depth study on the need and outcome of such sentences.
“Legal proposals provide for extremely severe sentences of up to 15 years in prison and violate human dignity, [at a time when] the vast majority of Albanian citizens are restricted in their freedom of movement and remain isolated in their homes.
These sentences are disproportionate, as sentences must be in fair proportion to the [level of] danger of the criminal offense and degree of guilt of the perpetrator.”
The group of organizations demanded the parliament to reject the legal changes proposed by the government.
Civil society organizations have previously opposed other recent controversial laws, including the draconian online media laws and the anti-mafia law.
However, neither this fact, nor the lack of a functioning Constitutional Court that could review the laws have stopped the governing Socialist majority from approving them.
Both laws were vetoed by the Albanian president, while the Council of Europe asked the Venice Commission to give an opinion on the media laws, and the EU has exerted pressure on the government to review them.