Prime Minister Edi Rama has issued a verbal attack against journalists, “analysts and commentators” that have criticised the controversial changes to several laws passed by the government last week.
In a series of Twitter posts, Rama wrote that journalists are opposed to the laws because they use crime to fuel anti-government rhetoric.
“Not only the Democratic Party but also the so-called analysts and commentators are opposing the “Anti-KÇK” in a collective madness on the television. For them, crime feeds politics and turns their audiences against the government. Between crime and government, they prefer crime.
The Anti-KÇK is the right response at the right time when police work is humiliated by corrupt prosecutors and judges who are partners in crime, do not convict, are releasing convicted murderers and traffickers, and working to seize a bit of whatever they can before the vetting wipes them off.”
Rama said he took an example from the success stories of Italy and the UK where “special laws hit the heart of the mafia and terrorism”.
He then added that:
“Time will prove that once again the love of the country and the will to make a modern Albanian state, the determination to break the old walls even with one’s head, will win over the hypocrites, the lazy, and the parasites that live on arguments, lies, and nonsense, poisoning Albanians.”
The law will give the government new powers which include restricting citizens’, movement, arrest and detention, property searches, asset seizures, the tapping of social media, mobile, and the internet, all without the need for a court order.
These acts will be overseen by a special unit that is independent of the justice system, is not supervised and reports to Rama. While the government insists that the laws will be used just to tackle corruption and terrorism, the powers of these ‘private’ police and intelligence services risk serious abuse, use for political gain, and risk of serious human rights violations. Civil society and the media have vociferously opposed the law, describing it as a descent into authoritarianism and making comparisons to Albania’s communist past.
It is not clear what UK legislation Rama is referring to but the 2005 Prevention of Terrorism Act and subsequent laws were widely condemned by civil society, members of Parliament, citizens, and activists, as well as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, JUSTICE and Liberty. Various provisions were called unlawful and incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.