Albanian court postpones appeal of elected Himare mayor Beleri to Dec 11

Fredi Beleri Albania

Tirana's special court against corruption decided on Monday to postpone for December 11 the appeal of the elected mayor of Himare, Fredi Beleri, to be released and sworn in the mayor of Himare.

The specific court will decide on Beleri's request following a ruling of Albania's Supreme Court, where Beleri appealed.
However, the trial will continue on Tuesday on the second leg of the prosecution concerning the vote-buying.

Greek ambassador to Albania, Konstantina Kamitsi, was present at the hearing.

Beleri was arrested two days before the May 14 elections on charges of vote-buying.

Athens has warned it will block Albania’s EU accession path if the Balkan country does not respect the rights of the ethnic Greek official.

In a written statement filed with the Council of the EU in the context of the EU member-states’ ambassadors (COREPER) who met on Wednesday, Greece said “it expects Albania to take specific and immediate measures as well for the assumption of Mr. Beleri’s duties, as well as to respect his right to a just trial and the principle of presumption of innocence.”

Beleri has been held without charges on suspicion of ballot fraud since May, and several appeals to be released have been rejected by Albanian courts.

Greece underlined that “his arrest raises serious concerns, including discriminatory practice against a member of an ethnic minority that is protected by international law. Mr. Beleri continues to be detained until today, for nearly seven months, and he has thus been prevented from exercising his political right as elected mayor to assume his duties.”

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