HIMARE – Fredi Beleri, a mayoral candidate in Himare, was apprehended by the Albanian police special forces on charges of vote buying.
According to an announcement from the foreign ministry, Greece’s ambassador to Tirana, Konstantina Kamitsi, lodged a formal protest (demarche) with Albania’s Foreign Ministry regarding Beleri’s arrest.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis previously commented on the detention of Dionysis-Fredi Beleri, an ethnic Greek running for mayor of Himare in Albania, for alleged voter bribery. Beleri was temporarily released, while Greece filed a diplomatic protest on the matter.
Mitsotakis stated, “I want to send a message to our friend, Albania: Greece will not tolerate any compromises on the rule of law or the protection of the rights of the Greek ethnic minority.”
In order for Albania to pursue European Union membership, Mitsotakis asserted, “it must ensure free and fair local elections and release those individuals who have been detained, allowing them to participate in the electoral process.”
FM Dendias: Arrest of ethnic Greek ‘a scandal’ if not fully substantiated
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias emphasized on Friday that the arrest of an ethnic Greek candidate for mayor in Albania would be a scandal if the evidence is not fully substantiated.
Speaking at the informal Gymnich meeting in Stockholm, Dendias referred to Dionysis-Fredi Beleri, who, along with another ethnic Greek, was taken into custody. He stated, “If there is no undeniable evidence, the arrest of a candidate mayor just two days before the elections is scandalous.”
Beleri is running as a candidate mayor in the municipality of Himare, Albania, representing the KEAD party.
FM Dendias mentioned that Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama had acknowledged the issue. Furthermore, he informed the chairs of the Gymnich meeting, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, and Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström. “The Greek government will closely monitor the situation,” Dendias affirmed.
Rama describes the arrest of Beleri as a sign of ‘the determination of justice to apply the law’
The Vlore prosecutor’s office has issued an arrest warrant for Dionysis-Fredi Beleri, the candidate Mayor of the Municipality of Himare, who represents KEAD, on charges of vote buying.
Meanwhile, in his statement, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama characterized Beleri’s arrest as a demonstration of “the justice system’s determination to enforce the law.”
He insisted that the arrest should be supported by evidence and afforded legal protection. Rama urged politicians not to jump to conclusions and to refrain from interfering with the ongoing investigation conducted by the appropriate authorities.
Furthermore, he emphasized that this incident is unrelated to the election campaign.