Albania Backs Special Law “Against Crime” Despite Rights Concerns

Albania Prime Minister Edi Rama on March 5, 2020, defending his proposal in parliament. Photo: Malton Dibra/LSA

The law, technically called a Normative Act, implying a law undertaken under extraordinary circumstances, received 89 votes for and 17 against.

It empowers police to seize properties of suspected criminals or order them to not move without permission from their usual home town and orders the Special Prosecutor Against Organized Crime and Corruption to report regularly to the Minister of Interior.

It also establishes a Special Court Against Organized Crime and Corruption to fast-track police requests for property seizure or other measures.

In parliament, Prime Minister Edi Rama dismissed criticism of the law, claiming the critics were overly concerned with the rights of criminals and positioning himself as an uncompromising fighter against crime. He claimed the critics were ignoring the suffering of crime victims such as victims of human traffickers and drug addicts.

"I am not at all surprised by the unexpected support that the elite of organized crime received as soon as we announced our extreme fight against this deadly [issue]," Rama said.

Following an old pattern of attacking the media, Rama said those who opposed the law include "the tie-wearing scoundrels and hypocrites that have a microphone in the hand - and have shamed the country in the eyes of the foreigners by writing, gabbling and throwing poison with the greatest pleasure against our country".

On Wednesday, a group of 23 rights organisations urged the parliament to vote down the measure.

"It bypasses the constitutional order of the country and flouts the principle of checks and balances between branches of the government, weakens the effective...

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