The head of the Albanian Muslim Community testifies in the case of imams accused of terrorism

The head of the Albanian Muslim Community testifies in the case of imams accused of terrorism

Tirana, 8 March 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

In Albania, the head of the Albanian Muslim Community (KMSH), Skender Brucaj has been summoned at the Court of Serious Crimes and testified today in the case of the nine imams who are accused of recruiting people with the aim of sending them to fight and to commit terrorist acts in Syria.

This is the first time that a senior Muslim official in Albania is summoned by a court in the quality of a witness.

Mr. Brucaj said that he had offered to the Prosecution of Serious Crimes a list of ten mosques in the whole country, which according to him, were outside of the jurisdiction of the Muslim Albanian Community.

These mosques have been built with the funds of donors by Islamic countries and voluntary contributions. They have been led by devout Muslims, a part of whom have studied in Arab countries.

Mr. Brucaj said that the imams that preached in these mosques had not been appointed by KMSH, thus casting doubts on the spirit of preaching made to believers.

During this court session, which also saw the participation of the defendants, the head of KMSH submitted an official letter exchange with the Prosecution of Serious Crimes.

During his testimony, the head of the Muslim Community has been interrupted several times by the defendants, while he has been called a spy sent by the US embassy.

The defendant, Gerti Pashja has asked the head of the Albanian Muslim Community if it is extremism to preach with a book which belongs to the Muslim Community.

Brucaj’s answer was: “Not if you preach based on the text of that book”.

In this tense session, the jury has been obliged to expel from the court room the relatives of the defendants who were speaking from the places reserved to the public.

The nine defendants were arrested several months ago. They were accused of recruiting people with the aim of sending them to fight and commit terrorist acts in Syria.

The arrests came at a time when Albanian authorities approved a law that prohibits Albanians to go and fight abroad.

The suspects were preachers in the mosques of Tirana. They insisted that they are innocent and that their detainment was illegal. /ibna/