From: Exit Staff
Prosecutors Demand Prison Sentences for Journalist and Former Opposition MP

Albanian prosecutors demanded 18 months in prison for former opposition MP Ervin Salianji and 12 months for journalist Jetmir Olldashi on charges of false accusations. The case is related to an alleged audio-recording of the brother of former Socialist minister of interior Fatmir Xhafaj, who is a convicted drug trafficker. Prosecutors asked the court to convert Salianji’s sentence into 3 years of probation, and Olldashi’s one into 200 hours of community service.

They also demanded 3.5 years in prison for Albert Veliu (aka Babale) and 3 years for Fredi Alizoti.

The case involves an alleged audio-recording of Agron Xhafaj, the former Minister of Interior Famir Xhafaj’s brother, where it is implied that he was still involved in drug trafficking while his brother was minister.

When the audio-recording was published, it was revealed that Agron Xhafaj needed to complete a previous sentence on drug trafficking in Italy. The Albanian police escorted him to Italy after Xhafaj decided to complete his sentence under strong public pressure due to the audio recording.

Here is a chronological summary of the main developments of this affair.

Salianji called the prosecution charges “political” today:

“These are fully political attacks, no new evidence was presented.”

Opposition leader Lulzim Basha also called the case political and driven by Prime Minister Edi Rama in person:

“30 years after the fall of the dictatorship, Edi Rama brings back political trials against the opposition. In order to convict Ervin Salianji, who denounced the involvement of the Interior Minister’s brother in drug trafficking, Edi Rama used two corrupt prosecutors, Kole Hysenaj and Genci Qana, who today applied the failed scenario to silence the opposition. The charges by the two corrupt prosecutors were predetermined by Edi Rama the day after the scandal was published.”