Are public figures in Albania under surveillance?

Are public figures in Albania under surveillance?

Tirana, 16 May 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Edison Kurani

A very heated debate has recently erupted in Albania, due to the fact that there are strong suspicions that politicians and other public personalities are under surveillance by the government.

The first denouncement was made by the largest opposition party.

Former Prime Minister Sali Berisha, current democrat MP, was the first one to give the alarm. He even published a list of known people for whom he said that they have been long been kept under surveillance by  Premier Rama’s government.

The list includes President Bujar Nishani, Speaker of Parliament, Ilir Meta, opposition leader, Lulzim Basha, Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, Bashkim Dede, that of the Supreme Court, Xhezair Zaganjori, General Attorney, Adriatik Llalla, the head of Secret Services, Visho Ajazi, the head of the High State Audit, Bujar Leskaj, Ombudsman Igli Totozani, Governor of the Central Bank, Genti Sejko.

The list which has around 400 people, also includes the names of several ministers, MPs, party leaders and owners and directors of newspapers, TV networks and news agencies.

Berisha says that “the list of these people who have been kept under surveillance, also includes ambassadors of EU member countries and heads of international missions accredited to Tirana”.

Berisha suggests that the surveillance device has been secured through the assistance of Italy’s Interforce: “This is an anti-constitutional and mob like act, which the criminal gang that has committed it, is trying to share it with the Italian Interforce”.

Berisha says that he’s convinced that this is the government’s act and that Interforce “cannot, under any circumstances be involved in such activity”.

Berisha’s denouncement was reinforced by the democrat leader, Lulzim Basha. He considers this a state crime, happening for several months with the knowledge of Edi Rama.

“In an unlawful way and with unlawful equipment, police officials have put under surveillance senior state officials, political leaders, ambassadors, media representatives, business people, bankers and citizens”, Basha says.

The DP leader admits that “police has officially admitted that it has such device”, while adding that “Edi Rama and Saimir Tahiri keep quiet, because they ordered the use of this criminal method”.

Basha considers this a political scandal and demands transparency. “Transparency is a political, legal, moral and social emergency not only for the opposition, but for all the political class, media and society of the country”.

Thus, the DP has demanded an urgent hearing at the Parliamentary Security Committee with the Minister of Interior, Police Commissioner, head of Secret Services and General Attorney, “to shed light on this event and on the state’s responsibilities”.

“Edi Rama must be held accountable for the creation, in open violation of the Constitution, of not only a state within a state, but of a “mob like” state above the state, which in fact kills the Republic”, Mr. Basha says.

Minister of Interior, Saimir Tahiri denies these accusations relating to a surveillance device which may be used by police. “State Police has never had, doesn’t have and will never have such surveillance device, because the law doesn’t allow police to have such device”, Mr. Tahiri said today.

However, Mr. Tahiri doesn’t deny the existence of such device, when he says that the State Police is being trained by Italian Police with such device. “There’s a training that is going on for several weeks based on an agreement between the two governments, with the police of partner countries, namely with the Italian Police, in order to exchange experiences. Police has held and will hold trainings with partner police forces, as they have done in the past with the same device. This is not a surveillance device, but a normal device for the work of State Police”, Tahiri said.

Meanwhile, minister of Justice, Ylli Manjani said that an inquiry has been launched on this issue. He asked for parties to be patient until the truth is unfolded as to whether such device exists. “I believe on the results of investigation by the Prosecution. There’s an ongoing investigation and we must be patient”, Manjani said.

Minister Tahiri also talks about investigations. He invites the Prosecution to start an inquiry in order to unfold the truth. “Police have no such device. Let everything be verified. We are open. We are doing the best we can to do our job”, Tahiri said. /