Athens Mayor and president of the B40 Balkan Cities Network Kostas Bakoyannis will attend a rally in Himare on Monday to protest the continued detention of Mayor Fredi Beleri in Albania.
Bakoyannis will address the southern Albanian rally organized at 18:00 by the Greek National Minority organization ‘Omonoia’, which demands that Beleri, an ethnic Greek, be released from detention and allowed to be sworn in as mayor to assume his duties.
According to Albanian electoral law, a mayor must be sworn in three months from the date of his election. In Beleri’s case, the deadline is August 14, the date of the rally. Organizers hope that the event will activate the international community for his release.
Beleri was elected mayor of Himare on May 14. He was detained earlier, on May 12, on allegations of bribing voters, and all appeals he has lodged with the Tirana courts have been rejected. Greece has vehemently protested his continuing detention with Albania, as well as with European and other authorities.
Bakoyannis is expected to convey a message of support to Beleri and the Greek minority in Albania, and to underline the need to defend the rule of law and European principles during a time when Albania seeks to become a European Union member.
In a statement, the ‘Omonoia at Himare’ organization expressed its appreciation for the visit and thanked all cities for their support in practical terms as well.