The imposition of security measures against a Member of Parliament have provoked debates in Albania, while Mr. Berisha himself has refused to appear before the prosecution and the special court.

 Zylyftar Bregu

On Saturday afternoon, October 21, the officers of the National Bureau of Investigation arrested Jamarbër Malltezin, the son-in-law of former president Sali Berisha, at Rinas International Airport.

This moment marked the publication of accusations not only for Malltez, but also for his father-in-law, the former president of Albania (1992-1997) and the former prime minister Sali Berisha (2005-2013). Both of them, together with the constructor Fatmir Bektashi, are accused of several serious criminal offenses, such as active and passive corruption for high officials, money laundering, etc. The Special Court against crime and corruption and the SPAK prosecutor’s office have also decided for Mr. Berisha, despite the mandate of the MP that gives him immunity from two restrictive security measures; “Compulsion to appear before the prosecuting authority, the prosecutor” as well as preventing him from crossing the state border of Albania, by blocking his passport. The imposition of security measures against a MP has provoked debates in Albania, while Mr. Berisha himself has refused to appear before the prosecution and the special court, normal procedure to give him the full charge and the decision on the security measure. In the following days, the reaction of the investigation structures to this position will also be seen. It is said that very soon, the prosecution will ask the Parliament of Albania to approve its investigation, resolving the impasse.

The voluminous file of 199 pages, which supported the prosecution’s request for security measures for Malltez, Berisha and businessman Fatmir Bektashi, shows the administrative odyssey for the privatization of a piece of land in the capital of Albania, which was used by a football team. A number of buildings are currently built on this surface, where citizens live.

The MP who just a few days ago celebrated his 79th anniversary, leads the ‘de facto’ opposition in Albania, after a political battle within the group to regain control of the Democratic Party, in which he was its founder and first chairman in 1991.

Two years ago, Berisha faced what appeared to be the end of his career, after he was declared “non grata” by the United States of America and expelled from the DP parliamentary group by his successor, Lulzim Basha. But after a political campaign within the party, Berisha managed to keep under control most of the membership and the parliamentary group.

A few months after the USA, in July 2022, Great Britain also declared it “non grata”.

The charges brought against him mark the investigation of the highest official in Albania for abuse of office, corruption or money laundering. A few months later, SPAK charged former Socialist Deputy Prime Minister Arben Ahmetaj, who is now living on the run and is thought to have left Albania to hide in a safe place.

According to political observers, the latest SPAK accusations constitute one of the biggest challenges for Berisha’s political career, which will leave a mark not only on him, but also on the opposition.

On the other hand, this file will also be a proof test for the new investigation structures in Albania, which are the result of a deep reform in justice. For three decades, the confidence of Albanian citizens in justice had reached the lowest levels.


Zylyftar Bregu, lecturer at the University of Tirana and freelance journalist