From: Alice Elizabeth Taylor
Laws Alleged to Infringe on Human Rights at Work Already: Suspects Required to Declare Assets in 48 Hours

The government has started operations to enforce various provisions of the newly passed “Anti-KÇK Package”, which included some controversial changes to several laws that the government passed on Friday.

The amendments, which create a special police force answerable to the government, give it the power to search, surveil, tap, detain, seize assets, and refrain from movement any citizen they suspect of organised crime or terrorism, without the need for a court order.

As of this morning, 12 local police departments have prepared a list of names of those citizens they believe to be unable to justify their assets and guilty of crimes stipulated in the amended laws,  and the list has been given to the criminal police department. The names will then be transferred to SPAK and citizens will have 48 hours to declare their assets. Then SPAK will have 15 days to decide the outcome.

Rama said that this new law will make life difficult for criminals and that any corrupt judges or prosecutors will be suspended within three days. He continued that any assets not justified would be seized.

The laws have caused outrage with human rights groups in the country who claim that the changes could pose a significant danger to human rights and the separation of powers in the country.

Justice Minister Eilda Gjonaj insisted that the government had consulted their “partners” when drafting the law. While the EU Delegation and the US Embassy came out in support of the law, they both told BIRN right after the changes were passed that they had “not seen the Normative Act adopted” and could not comment.”

Rights groups say the laws are unconstitutional and pose a danger to justice in Albania. The way the changes were passed is also considered a serious breach of constitutional principles as the Constitution only allows the government to pass laws with immediate effect in case of national emergencies. The government has not clarified what current emergency has justified the passing of this law that brings any alleged crime out of the hands of the justice system, and into the hands of the government.

In one of the first instances of the law in action, police seized the “Vila Golden” resort near Shijak. Last week Jak Prenga was allegedly killed there a week ago during a robbery linked to drug trafficking. It is thought that the resort, and others were being used to launder drug money in the country.