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Greek Foreign Ministry Condemns Rejection of Fredi Beleri’s Appeal

ATHENS – The Greek Foreign Affairs Ministry said the extension of ethnic Greek mayor Fredi Beleri’s detention in Tirana “does not appear to be in line with the provisions of the rule of law, while it does not constitute fair treatment of an elected representative of the local government.”

Beleri, who won the mayoral race in southern Albania on May 14, remains in jail since May 12 on allegations of bribing voters.

The ministry added that Beleri is the only person detained out of a total of 31 people accused of offences relating to elections, according to an announcement by the Special Prosecutor’s Office of Albania. The rejection of a release appeal, moreover, “raises questions as to the existence of political expediency in maintaining Beleri’s detention, since it presents substantial obstacles in his assumption of his mayoral duties,” it said.

The issue remains among its top priorities, the ministry underlined, adding it will continue to inform and raise awareness in the international community and its European partners particularly, as Albania is a candidate country for EU membership.

The detention was also raised at a meeting of Foreign Minister Vassilis Kaskarelis with his Albanian counterpart Olta Xhacka on Thursday, on the sidelines of the informal Summit of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs taking place in Oslo.

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