Beleri’s continued detention threatens Albania’s accession process, Greece tells EU

Greece will not further support Albania’s EU accession process if the latter does not free ethnic Greek Fredi Beleri, mayor-elect of Himare, it said on Wednesday.

In a written statement filed with the Council of the EU in the context of the EU member-states’ ambassadors (COREPER) who met on Wednesday, Greece said “it expects Albania to take specific and immediate measures as well for the assumption of Mr. Beleri’s duties, as well as to respect his right to a just trial and the principle of presumption of innocence.”

Beleri has been held without charges on suspicion of ballot fraud since May, and several appeals to be released have been rejected by Albanian courts.

Greece underlined that “his arrest raises serious concerns, including discriminatory practice against a member of an ethnic minority that is protected by international law. Mr. Beleri continues to be detained until today, for nearly seven months, and he has thus been prevented from exercising his political right as elected mayor to assume his duties.”