Greece escalates pressure on Albanian judge ahead of verdict on minority-elected mayor from Himara

Fredi Beleri Heimara

Greece escalates pressure on Albanian judge ahead of verdict on minority-elected mayor from Himara

The trial of  Greek - Albanian mayor Fredi Beleri has evolved into a diplomatic standoff between Athens and Tirana over several months following his arrest for alleged election interference, subsequently winning the municipality of Himara.

The judge presiding over the case, Irena Gjoka, has been consistently targeted by media assaults, with Greek sources recently alleging her past presence in Greece with irregular documentation.

Critics label this accusation as baseless, arguing that thousands of Albanians migrated to Greece under similar circumstances, driven by necessity rather than leisure. Thus, this revelation fails to substantiate any wrongdoing on the judge's part regarding Beleri's alleged vote-buying.

In addition, the concerned portal levels unfounded allegations, branding the judge as a mere 'instrument' of the Albanian government. This episode underscores how an EU member state exerts influence on Albania's judicial system, including veiled threats regarding the country's EU integration. Greece's veto on Albania and its intensified rhetoric on this matter exemplify attempts to sway the course of justice.

The assault on the judge surfaces just a day before the special court's verdict on Fredi Beleri, the elected mayor of Himara.

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