EU concerned over Albanian secret police law

3rd February 2009, Comments 0 comments

The law bans from public posts all people linked to the former secret police, Sigurimi, from November 1944 to December 1990, when the multiparty system was introduced.

Belgrade -- The European Union expressed concern last week over an Albanian law opening up communist era files and banning those linked to the former secret police from public positions.

"The new law on lustration of the Albanian society has raised several concerns over certain aspects and procedures, as well as the substance of this law," the statement said.

The law bans from public posts all people linked to the former secret police, Sigurimi, from November 1944 to December 1990, when the multiparty system was introduced. It was adopted by the Albanian parliament in December.

The opposition led by the Socialist party boycotted the vote in the 140-seat parliament, saying they were not against the law itself but its possible political exploitation by Prime Minister Sali Berisha and his party.

The United States, Britain and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe have expressed concerns about the legislation, calling for more consultations in the former communist country, one of the poorest nations in Europe.

"The law has serious constitutional and political implications, and postponing the vote to allow for wider consultation and public debate would be welcome," said the OSCE.

The European Council also declared in mid-January that the law had posed problems linked to human rights.

The opposition claimed Berisha and his party would use the law to sack justice officials involved in investigations of widespread corruption in the country, with cabinet members suspected of wrongdoing.

The law establishes a five-member commission charged with checking public officials -- from the country's president to high school masters.

Late communist dictator Enver Hoxha led his Balkan country through more than four decades of international isolation using the feared intelligence service to maintain his grip on power.

AFP/Expatica

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