Imprisoned Himare mayor-elect Fredi Beleri appeared before a special anti-corruption court in the Albanian capital of Tirana on Friday, where he was again denied bail and thus prevented from being sworn-in.

Beleri, an ethnic Greek politician from the historic Himare township in coastal southwest Albania, was elected by the slimmest of margins in a municipal race last May. However, he was arrested days earlier on charges of vote-buying, based on the testimony of two individuals.

Since then, judicial officials in Tirana have denied his repeated requests for bail, while the trial is moving at a snail’s pace.

“This trial is grossly rigged…they want to try me no matter what, without any reasoning…I am being held in jail with a forged criminal record. The prosecutor’s office continues to forge evidence in the indictment,” Beleri charged on Friday.

Five defense witnesses testified in Friday’s session, including a reporter who had interviewed a main prosecution witness.

The mayor-elect’s defense team also requested the exclusion of two justices serving on the court, a motion that was denied, while also requesting at the secretaries of a court and prosecutor’s office in the city of Vlore be summoned as witnesses. Justices subsequently withdrew from the chamber to decide on the latter request.

The final motion filed, for a release on bail, was denied. The next trial session was set for Jan. 10.