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Politics

Jailed in Albania, Ethnic Greek Elected Mayor Blames Prime Minister Rama

An ethnic Greek jailed in Albania after being elected Mayor of the seaside town of Himare said Prime Minister Edi Rama is behind it and controls the courts who sentenced him over the protests of Greece.

Fredi Beleri earlier said that Rama wanted him out of the way so that business associates of the Premier could develop Himare and profit from growing tourism as interest is growing in Albania’s coastal areas that are cheaper than Greece.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the two-year sentence given Beleri will lead to Greece blocking Albania’s hopes of joining the European Union, although Rama is said to believe the United States will force Greece to buckle.

Beleri was convicted of buying votes, which he said was a bogus charge aimed to get him, and that the judiciary in Albania has been compromised by Rama, which should be a disqualifying factor for EU membership.

“My goal was to assume my duties as the mayor of Himare. Given that the Albanian regime and Mr. Rama control the judiciary and almost all powers in Albania, they did not allow me to take on the responsibilities assigned to me by the people of Himare … staging a coup,” Beleri said in an interview with Alpha TV.

He said that since taking over as Prime Minister in 2013, Rama had been “distinguishing us Greeks living and operating in Albania into good and bad, into subordinates and enemies,” to further his control.

“At no point did I consider compromising with the Albanian regime or accepting a discount on what I believe in. Our struggle is just and we will win in the end,” he said, Rama not giving in to pressure from Greece or critics.

Beleri was put on the ballot for June 6-9 European Parliament elections by Mitsotakis’ ruling New Democracy, calling ia a “great obligation” and “great honor” bestowed on him by the Greek leader.

“It gives me strength and courage to continue my struggle to defend the rights of the people of Himare and the entire Greek community in Albania,” he said, Albanian courts delaying his appeals until after the elections.

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