Tirana, 28 July 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Edison Kurani
In its annual report published yesterday, the US State Department stated that an Albanian MP results to have been convicted for traffic of human beings.
But, politicians in Albania say that there are several MPs and other senior officials of the Albanian state who are involved in crime and other dirty affairs.
In an extraordinary press conference given today, opposition leader, Lulzim Basha, spoke of concrete names which according to him, are MPs with criminal records and belong to the left wing majority parties.
Basha pointed his finger toward the socialist MP, Arben Ndoka, who according to him, has been sentenced to 8 years in prison for exploitation of prostitution and kidnapping in Italy, Mark Frroku, an ally of the SP and according to DP, he’s accused of killing another Albanian in Belgium, and several other names.
The opposition leader also mentioned the names that the left wing governing majority ran for mayors such as Elvis Rroshi, Artur Bushi, etc. “This government keeps quiet, because it’s not the solution, but part of the problem, it’s the problem itself. Rama and Meta keep quiet, because they brought convicted criminals or wanted criminals. They are the ones who protected and rehabilitated and ran Ndoka, Prenga, Frroku, Bushi, Rroshi, Peci, Ndoni and tens of others and by openly challenging the public, the opposition and our American and European allies”, Basha said.
At this point, Basha says that the country cannot remain a hostage of crime vested with power. “The citizens do not accept it. Our allies and partners, USA and Europe do not accept this. This is why I want to address Albanians today and tell them that without solving this problem, no other problem can be solved. This is why we should finalize this battle because without this, there can be no future for any honest citizen of this country”.
USA reacts once again: A disgraceful fact
Following the publication of the report, another “slap” came today from the US embassy. The embassy considers the fact that an MP involved in human trafficking has been identified, is a disgrace.
“The [U.S.] Embassy finds it disgraceful that there is an Albanian member of parliament with convictions for human trafficking”. The Embassy says that “Albanians have the right to have elected representatives with integrity and high ethical standards, not criminals”.
Meanwhile, it warns that “the US will continue to urge all political parties to keep individuals with criminal backgrounds out of Albanian politics and public life”.
Meta: Decriminalization of elected and appointed officials
Speaker of parliament and leader of SMI, Mr. Ilir Meta, commented today the Report published by the US State Department for the Traffic of Human Beings and said that the report praises the progress of the efforts of the Albanian government in the constant fight against this phenomenon and criminal activity.
Meanwhile, he adds that “The report represents an important platform and a positive encouragement for the work of specialized state structures that counter this phenomenon, in the full application of the law and the legal punishment without any compromise of all incriminated people who have benefited or attempt to benefit out of this criminal activity”.
Mr. Meta also comments the fact published by the Report relating to an incriminated MP, when he says that he backs “the process of decriminalization through the improvement of legal standards for all public representatives, elected or appointed”.
Meta says that “in the spirit of this Report, we demand from all law enforcement agencies to briong to justice all those who are incriminated, including the ones involved in illicit traffics of any kind”.
Ministry of Interior sees the glass half full
While the opposition identifies criticism to comment the US State Department report, the government sees the glass half full. The Ministry of Interior makes a short comment. “This is the best report by the State Department in the past 25 years”, he says.
Elona Gjebrea, deputy Minister of Interior, reiterates the same thing and stresses that “the report mentions 22 concrete achievements in the government’s efforts and the Ministry of Interior in the fight against the traffic of human beings”.
The State Department classifies countries into 4 groups. This year, Albania was classified in Tier 2, which includes countries making important efforts to comply with minimum standards.
In 2013, Albania was in Tier 2, in the list of countries under observation. It remained a Tier 3 country during the eight years of the right wing in power and in two years, it managed to become a Tier 2 country.
In the framework of the fight against trafficking, “Rama”’s government, like “Berisha”’s government prior to it, has drafted a strategy covering several years and a national action plan to fight trafficking.
However, the more state institutions work and the more majority boasts its efforts, the more are some people putting human traffic at the center of their criminal “career”.
You can read the full report here.