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Sun Dec 14 2008, 05:30pm

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25 November 2008

AI Index: EUR 11/004/2008

Albania: The role of the People's Advocate and other human rights defenders in combating torture and ill-treatment is crucial

In the light of recent allegations of police ill-treatment, Amnesty International calls on the Albanian Minister of the Interior and the Director of the Albanian State Police to issue immediate instructions to the Judicial Police and other police officers reminding them that the torture or ill-treatment of a person, whether during or after arrest, or when the person is simply being questioned as a possible witness to a crime, is a serious criminal offence, both under Albanian and under international human rights law, and will be punished accordingly.

Amnesty International also urges the Minister of the Interior and the Director of the State Police to ensure that police officers at all levels are properly informed of the legal functions and duties of the People's Advocate (Ombudsperson), including the right, as set out in Article 19/1 of the Law on the People's Advocate, to enter without any restriction, and without prior authorization, any state institution, including police stations and prisons, and to speak in confidence with any person there, without the presence of officials.

The organization is disturbed to learn that Shkoder Police Directorate has initiated criminal proceedings against the People's Advocate, claiming that he jeopardized an investigation, after he and colleagues exercised their legal right to make an unannounced visit to Shkoder police station. While there they reportedly observed what appeared to be marks of violence on a young man, named as E. A., and therefore instructed the two judicial officers who were questioning him to leave the room so that they could speak with the young man in private. E.A reportedly then alleged that the officers had slapped him to make him testify against his parents in relation to a blood-feud crime which took place in 1997, when he was nine years old. Police have stated that an internal investigation will take place into E.A.'s allegations.

Amnesty International notes that this latest incident follows on from other allegations that police officers in Saranda severely beat two young men, Oltion Varfi and Aristidh Gllucaj, apparently to force them to sign statements. The two youths were arrested on 6 November 2008 on suspicion of helping people to cross the border clandestinely into Greece. The following day Aristidh Gllucaj, aged 18, was admitted to hospital. His case was brought to public attention after he was taken from hospital to court on 8 November 2008 to be remanded in custody and lost consciousness in the court room. The People's Advocate called for an investigation to be started against a police officer on charges of torture. The police officer has since been arrested and reportedly charged with "using violence during an investigation".

Amnesty International considers that the role of the People's Advocate, and that of other human rights defenders, is vital in ensuring that allegations of police ill-treatment are heard and investigated, and that when these allegatons are founded, the perpetrators are punished. The organization notes that during inspections by the People's Advocate to Vlora Police Station in October 2008, and to Tirana Police Station no. 1 in September 2008, other instances of alleged ill-treatment came to light, which would probably never have been reported but for such inspections.

Lastly, Amnesty International calls on the Albanian Minister of Justice, the Prosecutor General and the chairman of the High Council of Justice to issue clear instructions to all judges and prosecutors to promptly institute investigations whenever they have cause to believe that a person may have been tortured or otherwise ill-treated by police officers, and to invoke Article 86 of the Criminal Code, dealing with "Torture" when the actions committed correspond to the elements of the crime of torture, as defined in Article 86.

Public Document
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Sun Dec 14 2008, 06:02pm

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Verbund Signs Ashta Power Plant Contract with Albanian Government
December 13, 2008 · Filed Under Business, Economy, General News

Tirana, Dec. 13, 2008 (AENews) - The concession agreement for the Ashta power plant on the river Drin was signed on September 30 in the presence of Albanian Prime Minister, Sali Berisha. The run-of-river plant will be erected south of Shkoder, the fourth largest town in Albania. Industrially managed by Verbund, the project will be constructed jointly with EVN.

Both companies will have a 50 % shareholding in the project company. The project, which has a planned investment volume of Euro 160 million, involves the construction and operation of a run-of-river plant with an installed capacity of 48 MW and a forecasted annual generation amount of 230 GWh (this corresponds to approximately one quarter of the Freudenau power plant on the river Danube in Austria). Commissioning is scheduled for 2012.

Power plant information
Ashta is the final power plant step in a chain of three existing power plants and utilizes the head between the Spathara reservoir, which is fed by the river Drin, and the Drin estuary in the Buna.

A so-called Straflo Matrix will be installed in the Ashta run-of-river plant. Instead of one large turbine, this new technology employs several small ones. As a result, it will be possible to utilize even low current speeds and thereby increase efficiency. An additional benefit is the shortened construction period.

Electricity for Albania
Over a 15-year-term, 100 % of the electricity generated in Ashta will be collected by Korporata Elektroenergjetike Shqiptare (KESH), the state-run Albanian energy provider. After that, the term can either be extended or the electricity can be sold on the open market.

Ashta is the first international joint venture by Verbund and EVN. The project is also the Albania’s first large hydropower plant concession contract to be signed with an international partner. The concession is granted for 35 years, including construction period.

Verbund as best bidder
The Albanian government launched the call of tenders on 15 January 2008. In an international bidding process, Verbund asserted itself against international competition and was selected by the Albanian government in July 2008 as the best bidder for the project in northern Albania.

This is a press release from Verbund company
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Sun Dec 14 2008, 06:03pm

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Friday, 21st November 2008
Football - Intertoto Cup
UEFA probing match refereed by Attard
Holding inquiry into Marsaxlokk-Slaven case

Kevin Azzopardi

Under the spotlight... the Marsaxlokk-Slaven match is the subject of a UEFA inquiry.

An Intertoto Cup tie Maltese referee Joe Attard controlled in Albania last year is one of 25 matches being probed by UEFA in connection with irregular betting patterns, The Times can reveal.

Replying to a set of questions sent by The Times via e-mail, UEFA's media office confirmed that the 2007 Intertoto Cup first round, second leg match between Albania's Vllaznia Shkoder and NK Zagreb, of Croatia, is being reviewed by the European football governing body due to suspected irregularities linked to illegal betting.

Mr Attard, a former FIFA referee, and Ilir Pelinku, an Albanian coach, were recently named by Malta FA president Joe Mifsud as being allegedly implicated in the unlawful attempt to rig the UEFA Cup match between Marsaxlokk and Croatia's Slaven Belupo earlier this season.

In the 2007 Intertoto Cup, NK Zagreb won the home match, played on June 23, 2-1 but it was Vllaznia who qualified for the second round on away goals following a 1-0 victory in the second leg in Albania a week later. Their winning goal was scored by Arlind Norra after 26 minutes.

Mr Attard was in charge of the second leg with Ingmar Spiteri and Edward Spiteri the two assistant referees.

UEFA simply gave a yes reply when asked whether the 2007 Intertoto Cup match between Vllaznia and NK Zagreb formed part of its investigation into games that attracted irregular betting patterns.

Attempts to contact Mr Attard yesterday were unsuccessful.

UEFA also confirmed that it has initiated an inquiry into the Marsaxlokk-Slaven Belupo case.

"Yes, we are in contact with the Maltese FA, which has submitted the parts of the case file accessible to us," UEFA wrote.

The alleged plot to influence the result of Marsaxlokk-Slaven Belupo came to light during the Malta FA's annual general meeting held on July 27 at the Centenary Hall. Dr Mifsud told a hushed hall that the MFA had been made aware of an attempt by individuals to fix the result of a UEFA club competition match played in Malta earlier in the season. Slaven beat Marsaxlokk 4-0 at Ta' Qali.

At the time, Dr Mifsud did not divulge any other details but at a news conference in late September he identified Mr Attard and Mr Pelinku as the two prime suspects, adding that he was then in a position to give out names after receiving an update on the progress of the police investigation into the matter.

The Malta FA president was non-committal when faced with a question if previous European matches controlled by Mr Attard may have raised suspicion but he promptly reiterated his warning to clubs and individuals to come clean if they possessed information about other match-fixing cases.

At a Malta FA council meeting last month, Dr Mifsud confirmed that the MFA Board to Investigate Corrupt Practices had launched an inquiry into the case. Mr Pelinku, who was relieved of his duties as coach of Division Two club Lija Athletic, and Mr Attard were suspended, pending the outcome of the MFA's probe.

For its part, UEFA announced plans in September to set up a gambling investigation unit after it emerged that 25 European matches were being studied due to irregular betting patterns.

Gianni Infantino, UEFA's legal affairs director, said that the European body was assessing 10 matches from the current season and 15 from last season on suspicion that they might have been affected by irregular betting.

Asked by The Times what stage has the probe reached, UEFA replied: "The investigations for all 25 matches are still running. They are not so easy, as we face a conspiracy of silence in this domain and have to plan and act very smoothly.

"At this stage of the investigations, we cannot go into the details as this might endanger our activities. We hope to finalise some cases by the end of the year or in the first month of next year."
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Sun Dec 28 2008, 05:03pm

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Toptan calls Turkish businessmen to invest in Albania
Turkish Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan has said that the relations between Turkey and Albania should be further improved.
Thursday, 25 December 2008 17:47

Turkish Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan has said that the relations between Turkey and Albania should be further improved.

Toptan, who is currently paying a state visit to Albania, visited Shkodra city of Albania.

He held talks with the governor and the mayor of the city, and visited historical attractions.

Toptan, later, told the A.A, "the Albanian government decided to allocate some 35 percent of its budget to infrastructure projects. There are lots of things to do here. Therefore, our businessmen should invest in this country. We need to encourage our businessmen to come and make investments in Albania, especially in the areas of energy, tourism and infrastructure."

During his visit to Albania, Toptan held talks with Albanian Parliament Speaker Jozefina Topalli, President Bamir Topi and Prime Minister Sali Berisha.

He is expected to return to Turkey later in the day.
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Fri Jan 20 2017, 12:27am

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Joined: Tue Mar 24 2009, 12:56am

Posts: 10264
Albanian teacher arrested for pro-IS propaganda

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albanian police said Thursday they had arrested a theology teacher for making statements supportive of the Islamic State extremist group.

Emine Alushi, 39, was arrested and is facing a charge of religious hatred, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, according to a police statement.

Alushi was shown by private television station TVKlan debating with students and making "strong statements in favor of the notorious ISIS organization and the former leader of the terrorist organization al-Qaida, Bin Laden," said the statement from the police anti-terror department.

The previous evening, the TV station broadcast video of the woman telling her young students at a Muslim school in Shkodra, 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of Tirana that IS "are good people but the state wants to fight them."

She described the IS as "a Muslim organization protecting Syria's Muslim population, or that of Palestine, or that of Egypt."

The TV station did not identify the person who recorded the footage, and said only that it was recorded "some time ago."

Albania's Muslim Community, or KMSH, which is in charge of the school in Shkodra, immediately reacted, saying that "what this teacher has said does not represent the official line of the madrassa as an educative institution of the KMSH and is totally against what our school offers."

It added that the school's staff "unanimously distances itself from that teacher" who was temporarily replacing a colleague.

About two-thirds of Albania's 3 million people are Muslims. Mainstream religious leaders have urged believers not to join rebel groups in Syria and Iraq but scores of Albanians are believed to have done so.

The Interior Ministry claims, however, that no new fighters from Albania have gone during the last year.


Albanian teacher held for praising Islamic State

TIRANA: (AFP) - A theology teacher in a Koranic school in the northern Albanian town of Shkodra was arrested Thursday for praising the Islamic State group in class, a police spokesman said.

The 39-year-old told her students that "people from the Islamic State are good" as they protect "Muslims in Syria, Palestine or Egypt," but the Albanian "state wants to fight them," according to concealed-camera footage.

The students were 16-year olds, said the education ministry, after the comments were broadcast in an investigation by TV Klan channel on Wednesday.

It was unclear when the story was filmed. The school s head told AFP she had been a temporary replacement in 2015 and was no longer a member of staff, adding that the remarks had "nothing to do with the school... program".

Last November an Israel-Albania football match due to be played in Shkodra was moved after reports that suspected Islamist militants were planning to attack the venue.

Some 100-120 citizens of Albania, a Muslim-majority country, are believed to have travelled to Syria and Iraq, and around two dozen Albanian jihadists were still actively fighting there, according to a police source.

Education in Albania is divided into a non-religious public sector and private religious schools, which are under the joint control of religious authorities and the education ministry.

[ Edited Mon Jan 23 2017, 12:12pm ]

Edhe lumi ka kangen e vet. Nga një herë e zhurmshme dhe e vrullshme: kanga e randë e vajit. Mandej me një rrëmbim gazmor që kënaq çdo gja që natyra ka falun: kanga e hovshme e haresë.
Lot e gaz. Si jeta e njerëzve...

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Fri Jan 20 2017, 12:31am

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Living in fear: Children trapped in a cycle of death and vengeance which is in their heritage

Reporters met several youngsters living in dread of falling victim to Albania’s blood tradition – feuds between families in the mountainous north dating back to the 15th century that spare no male in a family capable of holding a weapon.

The boys spoke out about their plight close to Shkodra – a town 90 kilometres north of the capital Tirana on the border with Montenegro.

Klevis, 13, said he wants to be a doctor while his brother Albert, 11, aspires to be Albania’s justice minister.

Marcel, 13, wants to be a singer and Taulant (not his real name), 13, dreams of being a footballer.

But despite their lofty ambitions, none of them is able to go to school, join football clubs or learn music.

Their families are “bloodied”, explained Klevis, trapped in the cycle of death and vengeance which is their heritage.

Klevis, Albert and Marcel are part of the same extended family forced to hide in their spartan homes, awaiting attack by so-called “Gjakes” – an unknown assassin.

They could be attacked tomorrow, or never – simply because they are all related to a man who killed another person in a dispute about a stream in 2010.

“[They] could be the killers of tomorrow,” said Gjin Marku, who promotes reconciliation between families for local organisations.

The Gjakmarrja, or blood feud, has its origins in the 15th century “Kanun”, or social code, set up to regulate everyday life in medieval Albania.

It has detailed rules for blood feuds which state that when someone is killed, the victim’s family can take revenge not only against the killer himself but all males of the extended clan.

The families of those involved in a blood feud live “in the knowledge that they will be killed or they must kill,” said the mayor of Shkodra, Voltana Ademi.

But Marku doesn’t hold the Kanun code responsible for their plight, instead laying the blame at the door of the country’s authorities.

“When the institutions don’t work, when the judicial system is failing, these people aren’t finding solutions to their problems,” he said.

Albania is particularly susceptible to traditional vendetta culture after its authoritarian, one-party state gave way to near anarchy in the 1990s.

That sowed the seeds for the spread of “Gjakmarrja” feuds as a means of settling disputes.

The government ombudsman responsible for tackling blood feuds, Igli Totozani, agrees that crimes stemming from them are not just “a question of tradition”.

The authorities are reluctant to publicise numbers of those affected by blood feuds for fear of tarnishing Albania’s reputation as it continues in its bid to join the EU.

“Where the state is absent, vendetta replaces it,” said Totozani, adding: “We damage Albania’s image by acting as if the problem doesn’t exist.”

An estimated 66 families with 157 people including 44 children remain in hiding, according to an official report on the issue published in April.

Some 57 of the families live in or around Shkodra and complaints to police or officials are rare, said the report.

Marku, the expert involved in defusing blood feud violence, says there has been a steady decline in the phenomenon but estimated that some 190 children are still affected – with as many as 80 deprived adequate schooling because of it.

Others put the toll far higher, but accurate statistics are hard to come by because of fraudulent claims for asylum by those using the threat of blood feud violence as a ploy to secure refugee status abroad.

Whatever the true scale of the problem, the threat is very real in a country where, according to recent estimates, more than half a million firearms are in circulation.

Liliana Luani is a teacher who volunteers to help home schooled students trapped by Gjakmarrja.

The father of “Taulant”, one of the students she visits, became a convicted murderer in 1995 following a “quarrel”, according to Luani.

He has been hiding in a mountainous area with his two oldest children, aged 16 and 17.

Two or three times a month, “Taulant” ventures out to go to school.

He blushed when asked about the signet ring on his finger, saying that he had made “a female friend” there.

But he too will one day have to join his father and older siblings in hiding in the mountains.

“The Gjakmarrja weighs heavily on us,” said Taulant’s mother.

Marcel’s sister Maria Quku, 16, was fatally shot in front of her younger brother in June 2012 by a gunman who may have been targeting her grandfather, who they were visiting at the time.

Maria’s only crime was that she was the cousin of the man who killed another person in the dispute over a stream, in 2010.

Her mother, Manushaqe Quku, 40, only learnt of her death when her husband asked her to pick out clothes to dress their daughter’s body ahead of the funeral.

She lives at the end of a rocky track in a desolate house where photos of Maria cover the walls.

Her husband was an obvious target and no longer lives in the house. Their first son Marian is in hiding elsewhere but Marcel remains, eking out a meagre existence from the small strip of land around their house.

Marcel refuses to go to school and his mother has forbidden him from swimming in the lake that lies 200 metres from their home.

“I know that it will make the boy introverted, but I’m really scared,” said Manushaqe.

“Our family is completely lost,” she cried, demanding to know who killed Maria, adding: “It is very difficult to forgive.”

trokit ketu

Edhe lumi ka kangen e vet. Nga një herë e zhurmshme dhe e vrullshme: kanga e randë e vajit. Mandej me një rrëmbim gazmor që kënaq çdo gja që natyra ka falun: kanga e hovshme e haresë.
Lot e gaz. Si jeta e njerëzve...

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Mon Jan 23 2017, 12:10pm

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Joined: Tue Mar 24 2009, 12:56am

Posts: 10264
Kuwaiti students continue Albania visit, tour historic

TIRANA, Jan 23 (KUNA) - Kuwaiti female students, currently on a visit to Albania organized by the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, have visited the two cities of Kruje and Shkodra.

Sunday's tour included the Kruje Bazaar that dates back to the Middle Ages. Located inside the fortified walls of the Kruje castle, the Bazaar is both a historic attraction and a shopping opportunity for those hunting for authentic Albanian souvenirs.

The "Be Excellent" delegation also visited the George Castriot Castle, located on 600 metres from the sea level, in Kruje, 32 kilometers from the capital Tirana.

During their visit to the National Museum built close to the castle, the Kuwaiti top Thanawya Amma (secondary school) students were briefed on the history of the renowned military commander George Castriot (Skanderbeg) (1405-1468).

The students also toured the city of Shkodra, northwest, one of the oldest and most historic places in Albania and the Balkans. It is also an important cultural and economic center.

In ancient times, Shkodra was known under the name Scodra and was the capital of the Labeates, an old Illyrian tribe. The Rozafa Castle and the Abu-Bakr Mosqure are two main landmark sites in the city.

Talking to KUNA during the tour, student Noor Abul, expressed admiration of the Albanian people and their ability to use handcrafts to provide their needs. She also liked the fantastic deigns o the old houses there.

Another student, Ohoud Al-Otaibi, said that the tours they had helped them delve into the rich history of Albania. (end)


Source: Kuwaiti News Agency (KUNA) trokit ketu

Edhe lumi ka kangen e vet. Nga një herë e zhurmshme dhe e vrullshme: kanga e randë e vajit. Mandej me një rrëmbim gazmor që kënaq çdo gja që natyra ka falun: kanga e hovshme e haresë.
Lot e gaz. Si jeta e njerëzve...

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