Albania Arrests ‘Corrupt’ Judge and Aides Over Suspicious Prison Releases
Albania's Special Court Against Corruption and Organised Crime, in Tirana. Photo: LSA
An investigation carried out by Albania's Special Prosecution Against Corruption and Organised Crime, SPAK, has resulted in 13 persons, including a judge, Enkeleida Hoxha, two doctors, a defence lawyer and some private citizens, facing corruption charges.
Prosecutors investigated the allegations of corruption against Judge Hoxha after she issued a series of controversial rulings that resulted in the early release from prison of notorious criminals - and after uncovering plans for similar releases.
"Our investigation discovered a criminal enterprise in which criminals serving time in the Fushe Kruja prison obtained reduced sentences in exchange for irregular benefits," SPAK said, meaning bribery.
The released prisoners "chose as their lawyer Aldo Tabaku who, thanks to his relations with Judge Hoxha, secured sentence reductions for payments ranging from 6,000 to 12,000 euros," SPAK added.
The Fushe-Kruja facility is a high-security prison in central Albania where some of the country's most notorious criminals serve time.
Judge Hoxha controversially granted early release for several of them, who, as a result, walked free only few years after being jailed for grave crimes.
Shkëlqim Korbi, a psychiatrist, was arrested after it was found that he had changed a medical examination in favour of one suspect.
Hours after the arrests, Prime Minister Edi Rama on Twitter applauded the action, saying that it should encourage "everyone who expects justice for the crimes of corrupted judges and prosecutors".
"The arrest of notorious Kruja judge and her criminal network is much-awaited news for all of us and for the vast majority of...