Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama rejected claims that he is trying to put the special prosecution under pressure – after complaining that it only seemed interested in putting officials from his Socialist government behing bars.

Albania’s Rama Denies Trying to Lean on Special Prosecution

Albania PM Edi Rama (right) and Minister of Justice Ulsi Manja in Tirana on May 7 2022. Photo: LSA

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama has denied trying to pressurize the country’s Special Prosecution after complaining this week that the justice body was hitting members of his Socialist government more than those of the opposition.

Rama’s comments come as two former ministers are behind bars alongside a Socialist Party MP, a mayor and several high-level officials.

The Prosecution “should look at any side, as it is looking at our side. We do not want partial and one-sided justice,” Rama told journalists.

“We stood silent when a woman was arrested for a crate of fish, disregarding the disproportionality; we say even a fish crate can be a [legal] violation,” Rama added.

He was referring to the arrest of a former deputy minister, later sentenced for taking some 1,000 euros, a smartphone and a crate of fish, for a promise to help a jobseeker find a job in the public administration.

“But there comes a moment when some words should be said: we want investigations over 21 January, over Gerdec and other scandals,” Rama continued, reffering to a violent protest held in January 2011, in which four pro-Socialist protesters were killed, and the fatal Gerdec ammounition blast of 2008.

However, the US Ambassador in Tirana, Yuri Kim, responded that justice reform in Albania still has a way to go.

“According to the norms and practices of your friend, the United States, and your future family, the EU, we’ll know that justice reform has been successful when it is no longer considered normal to have judges and prosecutors engaged in misconduct,” she said.

“It will also be considered successful when we no longer think it is appropriate for political leaders in power or out of power to call for the prosecution of this person or that one; to say that justice is only served when the other one is put in jail and to claim that justice is not served when my one is put in jail. That’s not justice,” she added.

On Tuesday, the EU Delegation in Tirana also weighed in, emphasising “the importance of the prosecution services’ independence,” in what seemed an indirect criticism of Rama complaints.

Rama has claimed that his comments cannot be considered as a form of pressure against the SPAK. “Nobody can lecture me on interventions [in the field of justice], in Albanian, or in English, or in French,” he said.

The Special Courts against Corruption, or SPAK, were established following a comprehensive reform of the Albanian Constitution in 2016.


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