Convicted in Belgium, ‘Bajri’ Criminal Group Member to Serve Sentence in Albania

Safet Bajri, who was convicted in Belgium and arrested in Tirana, will serve his sentence in Albanian prisons.

The Court of Appeal of Shkodër decided that Bajri will serve in Albania his sentence of 8 years and 9 months in prison handed down by a Belgian court. Bajri was sentenced in Belgium for participating in a criminal group and running a prostitution ring.

Albania and Belgium have signed an agreement on the mutual recognition of court decisions but there is no such agreement on extraditions. In March 2017, the socialist majority amended the criminal procedure code and prohibited extraditions when countries have no specific agreement. The amendment saved several notorious Albanian criminals with political ties from extradition.

Safet Bajri was arrested in September 2018 in Tirana at the request of Belgian authorities. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison by a Belgian court for human trafficking and prostitution. He has been sentenced twice, first in 2015 to 9 years in prison, then again in 2017 to 13 years. According to the police, Bajri was the man who controlled a main prostitution ring in Brussels.

Bajri had escaped arrest because, in June 2017, he was deported from Belgium in the wake of a deportation wave on illegal immigrants. While he was being investigated and was awaiting trial out of prison, as he had paid bail, Bajri was identified as an illegal immigrant by the Belgian immigration authorities, who then decided to deport him.

The Belgian Ministry of Interior Affairs, and the Brussels General Prosecutor harshly criticized the decision of immigration authorities for having let loose one of Belgium’s most dangerous criminals. However, they defended themselves by stating that they had received no request to keep the criminal in Belgium.

Following his sentencing, Safet Bajri was included on Belgium’s most wanted list.

While the gang members were carrying out their criminal activities in Albania, Belgium did not halt attempts to find and arrest them. In July 2018, the Belgian media wrote that Bajri had found refuge in Albania where he was being protected politically by Socialist MP Luan Harusha.

Safet Bajri is also being investigated by the Albanian prosecution as part of the Bajri criminal group, which includes Enver Bajri, Ilir Bajri (Rustemi) and Behar (Brajgoviq) Bajri, all brothers and first cousins ​​who have allegedly engaged in drug trafficking, human trafficking and running prostitution rings in Belgium, the Netherlands and Albania.

Ilir Bajri and five other gang members were arrested in Shkodra in early September, and Safet Bajri and three others were arrested two weeks later in Tirana. In the same month, Behar Bajri was arrested in the Netherlands. Enver Bajri, who is considered to be the head of the organization, was arrested in Spain one month later.