Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama used a particularly coarse tone against Greece during a panel discussion at an EU Commission-related session on Thursday, in a bid to deflect increasing scrutiny over Fredi Beleri, an ethnic Greek politician elected as a mayor of the town of Himare but prevented from taking the oath of office and kept in remand by an Albanian court.

The socialist premier of Albania spoke at the European economic and social committee session in Brussels, convened for EU candidate-states.

Touching directly on the issue, Rama said “the representative of Greece makes it look like Albania is Siberia and that someone in Siberia is held hostage by a ruthless bloodthirsty regime… “I will answer very simply. The way you see it is completely delusional, it has nothing to do with reality. If there was any truth in all this, do you think that this city would be silent and the European Commission would not have said a word, the European Council, another member state?” he asked.

Although Rama’s government is extremely eager to push through the accession process, concerns over rule of law and an independent judiciary plague Tirana’s application. The Beleri case has highlighted those concerns, while adding the element of minority rights.

The ethnic Greek politician was arrested and charged with vote-buying just days before local government elections in the Adriatic country. The accusations were made by two witnesses, whose testimony is now called into question, with one of the two now nowhere to be found. A special anti-corruption court in Tirana has rejected repeated motions by the defense to allow Beleri out of prison for even a day to be sworn-in.

The latter, in fact, has accused Rama himself of engineering the prosecution’s case against. The Albanian premier enthusiastically supported Beleri’s rival in the spring election.

On Thursday, Rama again played up the “independent judiciary” card, saying “it is a matter of justice in a sovereign country, where judicial reform is the one for which the European Union praises us more. And in the end, no one in Albania is above the law, whether you are rich or poor, whether you are a politician or a simple citizen, whether you are a Greek citizen or not.”

“I guarantee to the Greek friend and to any other Greek who thinks that things are not like that, that it is a matter of justice and justice will answer in the end,” he said, before calling out a current member of the Union he wants his country to join: “Learn to respect justice in your country and every country of the European Union but also more generally in Europe.”

Beleri, his supporters, much of the indigenous ethnic Greek community in southern Albania, and official Greece have furiously accused the court and prosecutors of political motivation behind the slow-moving judicial case against him.