Newly elected member of the European Parliament Fredi Beleri, who also remains the mayor-elect of the town of Himare in southern Albania, has filed a request to Albanian authorities to be released from prison to attend his MEP swearing-in ceremony in Strasbourg in mid-July.

The incarcerated politician, who was elected last month on conservative New Democracy’s (ND) ticket, aims to secure the suspension of his sentence and its repeal. ND is the ruling party in Greece.

Beleri, an Albanian citizen of Greek origin, was initially sentenced to 24 months in prison and has been detained since May 12, 2023, on charges of active bribery (vote-buying) during the municipal elections.

According to the Greek-language news site, Beleri’s lawyers submitted two requests to an Albanian first instance court, requesting early release under conditions. According to Albanian law, this is available to those who have served 2/3 of their sentence and have exhibited good behavior during their incarceration.

A second request was also filed to the Supreme Court of Cassation for the suspension of the sentence until the court reviews the appeal against the appellate court’s decision, a procedure that is reportedly reviewed promptly (between 3-5 days).

The newly elected MEP saw a recent appeal rejected by the Tirana Court of Appeals, which upheld the initial two-year prison sentence.

Greece has been putting pressure on Albanian authorities via the EU in an effort to secure Beleri’s presence at the swearing-in ceremony of the new deputies of the European Parliament during the first plenary session of the body, which is scheduled for July 16 to 19 in Strasbourg