A court in Argyrokastro (Αργυρόκαστρο, Albanian: Gjirokastër) in Northern Epirus in southern Albania has sentenced Monti Kolila, president of the Movement for the Revival of the Northern Epirus and from the Greek minority in the country, to prison.
In fact the 58-year-old Greek received a harsh sentence of 8 years and 6 months in prison.
The prison sentence is supposedly for inciting hatred, violence and insulting national symbols, Tribune reported.
Himarra (Χειμάρρα, Albanian: Himarë) born Kolila, was convicted of “inciting hatred or strife”, “distributing unconstitutional writings” and “organizing and participating in illegal gatherings”.
Kolila is in Greece, meaning he cannot return to Northern Epirus without being arrested.
The Greek national was tried and convicted because on May 12, 2018 in the village of Vouliarates (Βουλιαράτες, Albanian: Bularat) in the Municipality of Dropoli (Δρόπολη, Albanian, Dropull) he organized a rally for the anniversary of the Corfu Protocol.
The Corfu Protocol recognised the autonomy of Northern Epirus within Albania in 1914, however, Albania has never enacted or respected the Corfu Protocol.
According to the Albanian publication, the gathering was attended by about 30 people, most of them from Greece and some residents from nearby villages.
The opening speech was given by Monti Kolila and spoke about Greek minority issues in Northern Epirus and distributed books in Greek that “present misinformation about historical facts and circumstances on the subject that incite hatred or ethnic strife.”
Also during the rally, two Greek flags appeared with the inscription of 1914 (flags of the Northern Epirus), which were removed after the completion of the rally, which lasted about 45 minutes.
The local police were not informed about the rally.
In 2018, the Argyrokastro Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation after receiving material from the Albanian Counter-Terrorism Directorate.
The decision of his sentence for 8 years and 6 months was taken by the Court of First Instance of Argyrokastro on February 11, 2021.
Video from the rally was shot “by the Greek extremist Konstantinos Katsifas,” who was murdered in Vouliarates by the Albanian Police on October 28, 2018.