Ethnic Greek Beleri secures EU parliament seat from Albania jail

When ethnic Greek politician Fredi Beleri was voted into the European Parliament on Sunday while jailed in Albania, supporters in his Albanian hometown lit flares and fireworks in celebration.

Beleri, who ran for election with a Greek party, is due in court on Friday to appeal a conviction on charges of vote-buying in a local mayoral election a year before, which he said on Wednesday were false and motivated by politics.

"The only just decision would be my acquittal," Beleri told Reuters in a telephone interview from prison. "There is no evidence against me. There is no way the decision would be different in any other state."

Beleri' case has strained relations between Albania and Greece, Balkan neighbors whose ties have often soured over cultural and historical differences, as well the many Albanian immigrants in Greece and the Greek minority in Albania.


Continue reading on: