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Politike

Two years in prison for Beleri, VOA: The decision of the Appeal paves the way for a new election process in Himare

Two years in prison for Beleri, VOA: The decision of the Appeal paves the way

In Albania, the Special Court of Appeal confirmed the two-year prison sentence for Fredi Beleri, the elected mayor of Himara, accused of active corruption in the elections. A sentence which is expected to automatically lead to a new election process for the Municipality of Himara, while Mr. Beleri has been elected as a member of the European Parliament, as part of the party list of Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

He was arrested two days before the local elections on May 14 last year, under suspicions that he had offered money in exchange for votes in favor of his candidacy. According to the Prosecutor's Office, the resident of Himara, Arsen Rama, who had offered to cooperate with the authorities, was given monetary sums of 5 thousand lek for 8 people, whose names were on a list that he had submitted to Beler.

The elected mayor of Himara rejected the accusations, making the prosecution responsible for manipulating the evidence, as well as talking about his political imprisonment. He directed you unsuccessfully to all levels of the judiciary, including the Constitutional Court, to request release, or permission to take the oath as mayor. Himara continued to be governed until a few months ago by the former mayor, the socialist Jorgo Goro, who was also arrested for property abuse. The denunciation of him was made precisely by Beleri.

Opposition candidate, in the local elections, as a representative of the Union Party for Human Rights, which protects the rights of the Greek minorities in Albania, the Beleri case turned into a bone of contention between Tirana and Athens, significantly worsening relations between the two countries . Initially, Greece requested his release, claiming violation of minority rights. He then spoke of a violation of political rights, insisting that Mr. Beleri should be given the right to take the oath. The Albanian authorities, for their part, insisted that it was a matter of justice, and that they could not intervene.

Last December, Athens blocked Albania's advancement in the membership process, vetoing the opening of the first group-chapters in talks with the European Commission. Even today, the Greek ambassador in Tirana, Konstatina Kamitsi, stated after the decision that according to her, " many aspects of this case raise questions regarding the objectivity of the process, the presumption of innocence, the prolonged detention of Mr. Beleri, the disproportionate punishment and not allowing him the right to swear ". She also recalled that " Mr. Beleri is now officially an elected member of the European Parliament. It is part of the rule of law that the elected MEPs have the opportunity to appear in person at all the proceedings of the European Parliament starting from the plenary session of the coming July. "

MEPs enjoy special immunity. If Mr. Beleri was detained in one of the EU countries, pending the process, he would have been released automatically, while the justice authorities would have to obtain the authorization of the European Parliament to continue the process. But Albania is not part of the EU, and moreover, as of today, Mr. Beleri is condemned by a final decision./VOA

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