In an interview with Greek radio station SKAI 100.3, the elected Mayor of Himare, Fredi Beleri, currently incarcerated in Durrës prison, in central coastal Albania, emphasized that the latter country does not adhere to the rule of Law.

“On December 4, after six months of delays, a special court will judge my appeal regarding whether or not I will be sworn in as Mayor,” Beleri said, adding that the law was unambiguous.

“When someone has not been convicted, and a final judgment has not been reached, the accused can take the oath [for office],” he said, alleging that two other Mayors were performing their duties even though they had also been charged with a similar offense, adding that there were even videos and testimonies in both cases.

“A sole witness admitted to being bribed with 7,000 euros, while the director of Himara’s police was promoted,” he continued

“I am innocent”

Commenting on the political scene in Albania, he said, “The opposition cannot perform its duties in Parliament; there is a witch hunt by the government. Whoever is not favored by (Edi) Rama [Albanian Prime Minister] is persecuted at any given time. There is no equality,” he said.

He went on to claim that Rama is doing favors for other countries and is considered pro-European and modern, while one million Albanians have left the country, describing the Albanian Premier as “ill-mannered.”

“Many Albanian media support Greece’s stance. Those supporting Mr. Rama are few and manipulated. I am fine, I am innocent, moved by the love of the people, not only from Himare but from all over Greece,” he concluded.

Beleri was arrested only two days before the municipal elections in Himare on May 14, after being accused of “vote-buying” and he has remained incarcerated ever since. Himare is a southern coastal town in the country that has been populated predominantly by an ethnic Greek population for millennia.

During the same month as Beleri’s arrest, there were a total of 31 cases against multiple candidates for alleged illegal ‘pay-for-vote’ soliciting. However, Beleri is the only defendant incarcerated, while the others remain free.