From: Exit News
Ex-Minister Charged with Drug Trafficking to Be Retried Due to Procedural Failures 

Albania’s former Minister of Interior Saimir Tahiri will be retried by a different appeals panel due to prosecutorial failures during the previous trial that sentenced him to 3 years in probation.

On Tuesday, the High Court revealed the full ruling from September 29, which lays out all arguments for the court decision that followed Tahiri’s request for retrial.

The court argued that one of the three judges of the Tahiri case, Judge Albana Boksi, was in a conflict of interest because she had previously ruled on a different case involving a drug trafficker connected to the same Habilaj criminal group suspected of ties to the former minister.

Tahiri was sentenced to 3 years and 4 months in prison for abuse of office two years ago, in September 2019. The first instance court converted the controversial sentence to three years in probation, and barred him from exercising public office during this time.

Prosecutors had demanded 12 year in prison for Tahiri on charges of “international drug trafficking”, participation in a “structured criminal organization”, and “criminal activity under a structured criminal organization.”

The court dropped all three charges by prosecutors, and sentenced him on a different charge, abuse of office.

Today’s court ruling stated that Tahiri was not provided with a chance to defend himself on charges of abuse of office.

The Special Court of Appeals had demanded a retrial, arguing that the court of first instance violated the Code of Criminal Procedure by sentencing him on a different charge, on which he was not investigated.

Last year, Tahiri appealed the ruling to the High Court, demanding a retrial by a different panel of judges of the Appeals Court. On the other hand, the Special Prosecution against Organized Crime demanded the High Court to order a retrial at the first instance court.


Read more: Tahiri Verdict Shows a Captured Judiciary Unbothered by Reform