The “Police We Love” Unravels as Tahiri–Habilaj Affair Spreads

As an increasing number of police chiefs serving under former Minister of Interior Saimir Tahiri have been implicated in the sprawling investigation of the Prosecution of Serious Crimes into the dealings of the criminal organization led by the Habilaj brothers, it is useful to recall Prime Minister Edi Rama’s endorsements of these very same people from the “Police We Love” during his first mandate:

Thank you directors […] and Saimir Tahiri for this encouraging result on the way to the Renaissance. […] This is the police we love for the Albania of lawfulness and civilization.

The police is attacked today, because it serves no one except the law.

Within these three years I think that we can be proud for what we have done to rebirth the State Police. The battle with crime, drugs, and trafficking and for the security of the citizen is today as it has never been before and it will become even better.

But a single investigation of the Prosecution of Catania has proved enough to bring down the entire propaganda apparatus around Tahiri’s “reborn” State Police. So far, based on just the wiretaps from the Habilaj dossier compiled by the Italians, a former minister, a former deputy ministers, a high official, and 5 police directors have come under suspicion of the Prosecution of Serious Crimes. They are accused of acts or failures to acts that have allowed the criminal organization of the Habilajs to operate relatively unhampered in Albania:

  • Saimir Tahiri, former Minister of Interior
  • Elona Gjebrea, former Deputy Minister of Interior
  • Edi Markaj, Director of the Interior Control Service of the Ministry of Interior
  • Jaeld Çela, former police chief of Vlora
  • Alban Cela, former police chief of Shkodra
  • Gjergj Kohila, former director of the section of serious crimes in Vlorah
  • Sokol Bode, former chief of the Border Police in Dhërmi