Albanian ex-interior minister Saimir Tahiri is facing a 12-year prison sentence if he is found guilty of links with a drug trafficking network, local media reported on September 10.
Tahiri, Albania's longest-serving interior minister, held the post in the Socialist-led government from 2013 to 2017. His name has been linked with two brothers, both suspected drug traffickers, one of whom, Moisi Habilaj, was arrested in Italy in 2017. Tahiri admitted they are his distant cousins, but said the accusations against him are baseless.
Prosecutors sought a 12-year prison term for Tahiri during the marathon seven-hour court hearing on September 10. Tahiri has been accused of being tied to a crime network suspected of trafficking large amounts of cannabis. The next court session will be held on September 19.
The investigation against Tahiri was launched two years ago. Tahiri resigned as an MP in 2018 to allow the independent investigation to go ahead, but denied any connections to the alleged trafficking network.
After the court session Tahiri said he did his best to reduce criminality while he was interior minister.
Sources familiar with the case said that Tahiri had an excellent defence.
Drug trafficking and organised crime are among the biggest challenges for the Socialist-led government, which was elected for a second mandate following the June 2017 general election.
Law enforcers in Albania and Italy have arrested 37 members of an organised criminal group that trafficked large quantities of illegal drugs, said the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice ... more
French renewables company Voltalia has won a tender for the construction of the 140 MW Karavasta photovoltaic park in southern Albania worth €100mn, Albanian PM Edi Rama announced on May 27. The ... more
The Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) project—the last pipeline link required for Azerbaijan to meet its ambition of exporting natural gas to the European Union—has started introducing its ... more