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Albania’s former Interior Minister Saimir Tahiri was sentenced to five years in prison for office abuse that will be converted to 3 years and 4 months probation, the Albanian Serious Crimes Court decided Thursday.

The three judges of the Albanian Serious Crimes Court found the former minister Tahiri guilty of office abuse, and turned down the prosecution’s three charges of “corruption of senior officials, drug trafficking committed in co-operation and part of a structured criminal group.”

Business24

On Sept. 12, the Serious Crimes Prosecution demanded 12 years in prison for Tahiri for collaborating with a criminal group trafficking narcotics to Italy in at least four cases during 2013 and 2015.

Earlier, the Serious Crimes Court accepted the request for a summary trial, a ruling that automatically reduces his sentence of 5 years in prison by one third.

Despite this ruling, Tahiri will not go to prison since the court has decided to suspend the execution of his prison sentence, leaving him on probation for a three years and four months sentence.

Moreover, the court decided that Tahiri cannot hold public posts for a period of three years.

The former Minister and a former police director Jaeld Cela are charged with trafficking narcotics as a structured criminal group and committing offenses as a structured group.

Tahiri has denied all charges related to him, saying the request for his arrest is politically motivated.

In a reaction to Thursday’s decision Tahiri told reporters that he will appeal the decision calling it “ridiculous.”

“The court said that I am not a trafficker or a criminal, but as some cousins of mine have used my name while I was a minister, I have committed office abuse. I will certainly appeal this decision,” Tahiri said.

Tahiri has served as the interior minister from September 2013 to March 2017.

In May 2018, Tahiri resigned from his post as a ruling Socialist Party lawmaker. The 39-year-old lawmaker was one of the key figures of the Socialist Party in its previous four-year-term. Enditem

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