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Albanian ex-minister cleared on drug charges, guilty of Misuse of office

An Albanian court found former interior minister Saimir Tahiri guilty Thursday of abuse of innocent however innocent of trafficking drugs and sentenced him to 3 years probation.

Prosecutors desired Tahiri, after among the closest partners of Prime Minister Edi Rama, jailed for 12 years on charges of corruption, drug trafficking and being a part of a criminal group, at a situation that has rocked the leftist government.

The judgment comes a month before European Union member countries, eager to see Tirana measure its battle against corruption, match to choose whether to back Albania’s bid to start accession talks advocated from the EU Commission.

“The court stated I’m not a criminal or a drug trafficker and not a part of a criminal grouping, however, found me guilty of misuse of office since I’ve used the same car with a few cousins,” Tahiri told reporters after the verdict, that was issued six months later than anticipated.

Ruling Socialist lawmakers refused calls to raise Tahiri’s immunity from prosecution this past year, but he waived himself in May after EU states requested Tirana to fight corruption when it needed to combine severely.

Among the rising stars of the Socialist Party when he was appointed an interior minister in 2013 at only 34 decades old, Tahiri began modernizing the police force and finished industrial-scale production of cannabis from the lawless enclave of Lazarat in early 2014.

But, cannabis then spread all across the Balkan country and traffickers have landed cargos up to a tonne in Italy.

Albania is now assessing its judges and prosecutors for corruption to finish a record of impunity for top officials since it intends to meet EU entrance requirements.