The Greek Foreign Affairs Ministry on Monday condemned Albanian authorities’ refusal of a furlough to detained ethnic Greek Fredi Beleri so he could be sworn in as mayor of Himare.
Beleri’s request for a special furlough would allow him to be sworn in during Tuesday’s first meeting of the new municipal council.
The rejection of Beleri’s request demonstrates, “beyond any doubt, that the aim of Albanian authorities is to deprive him of the mayoral office, to which he was democratically elected by the citizens of the region, yet without a final conviction and without even having been formally charged,” the Greek ministry pointed out in its statement.
Albania should respect the rule of law and the principle of the presumption of innocence, being a candidate country for accession to the European Union, it was added.
Beleri, who won the mayoral race in southern Albania on May 14, remains in jail since May 12 on allegations of bribing voters.