Physical attacks can take place in the Albanian Parliament because they are not considered a criminal offense

Physical attacks can take place in the Albanian Parliament because they are not considered a criminal offense

Tirana, 11 June 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Edison Kurani

In Albania, many people were surprised when the Supreme Court acquitted two majority MPs, former heads of police, for physical violence exerted within Parliament against their opposition colleague. The surprise was caused by the fact that in ruling, the Supreme Court argued that the event taken place on 10 July 2014 was not a criminal offense.

The decision follows the General Prosecution’s request for the two MPs to be given a total jail sentence of 20 months, offering the possibility of converting the sentence with 250 hours of community work. The request was based on the criminal accusation, physical attack as a result of the duty.

The court ruling and the arguments provided

The Supreme Court suspended the case against the two socialist MPs, Pjerin Ndreu and Arben Ndoka, accused of violence against the democrat MP, Gent Strazimiri. The Supreme Court said that the case should have not started, because there is no criminal act in this matter.

“The use of insults and other violent acts by the MPs, which threaten the normal activity and authority of parliament, the personality and dignity of the MP, etc, carried out during the parliamentary activity and/or inside of the parliament premises or where he exerts his activity, constitute an excess of parliamentary freedom, offenses which are tried and punished by parliament itself. As such, if the behavior of the MPs in question, with words, actions or other physical violent actions, which impeded or threaten the authority of Parliament, dignity and the personality of the MP, have not led to other serious consequences, undergo exclusive procedure of investigation and disciplinary process, followed by disciplinary measures issued by the structures of the legislative power, Parliament”, says the Supreme Court.

According to this court, under these circumstances, there cannot be any proceedings against these MPs and no criminal proceedings by the justice system.

The Supreme Court says that this stance is passed on the Constitution of Albania, approved by members of Parliament.

The numerous political comments

For many people, the ruling of the Supreme Court is considered as a surprise. In social networks, there was lots of humor on one side and insecurity on the other. Many online media and social networks came out with the following: “You can insult and beat as much as you like inside Parliament, because nothing happens to you, but don’t dare to insult each other on the street or at home because you will go to prison”.

An in fact, the arguments for this are clear: Court cases and police files contain many examples of criminal proceedings for insult, psychological or physical violence. Courts hand sentences up to 10 years in jail for these incidents that take place in homes, bars or the street.

Meanwhile, as far as the violent episode which took place in parliament is concerned, where the two MPs attacked an opposition MP on the corridor, the court doesn’t consider it as a criminal act and for this, it suspends the case and acquits the people who have been elected by the people.

Some people say that this decision leaves room for other eruptions of violence in Parliament, as the precedent protects them from legal proceedings and prison.

Former police director in several counties and then Police Commissioner, current MP Pjerin Ndreu comments yesterday’s decision. According to him, this episode occurred at a moment of anger and that this was not a legal cause for the case to be sent to the court.

“The decision showed that all of this was done for nothing. The criminal proceeding should not have started. I’m sorry about all of those who made this a big deal. These are things that occur everywhere in the world and will continue to happen”, Ndreu said.

The attacked MP, Gent Strazimiri says that the decision was “an insult for the intellect and the sense of justice in the Albanian society”. He also quoted the reactions of several people who say that this decision is issued “with a disgusting arrogance, openly and goes against the reason and the senses of each of the individuals of this society, regardless of their education, political conviction or social status, by disrespecting the law and institutions”.

For Strazimiri, “all of these elements show that the Supreme Court was only the “distribution point” of this ruling, as the calligraphy, as I was expecting, belonged to Edi Rama”.

Meanwhile, leader of opposition, Lulzim Basha considers the ruling of the Supreme Court for the suspension of the case against the two socialist MP as bad news for Albania, democracy and parliamentarism.

Basha refers to the video that you can find here, when he says that “everyone saw the ugly scenes of the physical attack against the freedom of speech and opposition”.

The democrat leader suggests that the decision of the court has been imposed by the government and adds: “Our American and European partners have been challenged. Instead of decriminalization, as an urgent and vital need  of Albanian politics and Albanian society, Edi Rama sealed his deed with the criminalization of power. The capturing of institutions by crime which is backed by the power and the power backed by crime, are his deed”.

Former PM Sali Berisha also comments the ruling of the court. According to him, “The Supreme Court, which has turned into a knife of Edi Rama’s regime, upon the order of Edi Rama, suspended the case of the physical attack occurred in Parliament carried out by socialist bandits who have immunity against the democrat MP. This act shocked the country and the world”.

The democrat MP says that “justice along with the opposition ended up in the regime’s guillotine”.

Berisha stops on two decisions issued in the recent days by the Supreme Court. The first against the two opposition MPs finding them guilty for defamation against the PM and the second one which acquitted two majority MPs who physically attacked an opposition MP.

“With these political and hostile decisions of the Supreme court against Albanian opposition, there’s now a situation which has never existed before. The opposition is placed today in front of its most serious alternative throughout its history. Today, more than ever, the opposition must rise against any decision and pay any price in order to defend its real existence”, says the former PM.

The decision of the Supreme Court was not commented by the heads of the majority, PM Edi Rama and speaker of Parliament, Ilir Meta. /ibna/

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