April 14. 2024. 6:58

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Albanian former prosecutor general reportedly granted asylum in Italy

Albania’s former general prosecutor Adriatik Llalla has reportedly received political asylum in Italy, extinguishing hopes of extradition following a request filed by the country’s special court against corruption and organised crime (SPAK).

Llalla served as prosecutor general between 2012 and 2017. Shortly after a public spat with the at-the-time US Ambassador to Albania Donald Lu, over his alleged interference in the justice reform, he was banned from entering the US along with his family on grounds of suspected corruption.

The US State Department clarified there were no ongoing processes against Llalla but said the decision was taken on the basis of public opinion and allegations of corruption. Albanian prosecutors started investigating him in March 2018 and issued a seizure order for an apartment in the port city of Durres and 22,000 square metres of land near Tirana.

Then in 2021, he was sentenced to two years in prison and confiscation of assets for not declaring his wealth on his asset declarations. The appeals court rejected his denials and upheld the verdict.

Llalla then disappeared and was arrested in Italy in December 2021 following collaboration between Albanian and Italian authorities and Interpol. Albanian police said they would begin proceedings to extradite him to Albania.

He then claimed political asylum in Italy, stating that the charges against him were politically motivated. The decision was considered by the Court of Rome after Llalla filed the request, represented by lawyer Ada Mahmutaj. The news was also confirmed to A2CNN by his other legal representative Sokol Hazizaj.

The Italian Appeals Court raised doubts about the validity of his previous sentence and referred to an alleged “incurable” health condition Llalla claims. For this reason, they said a prison sentence should not be applied.

A copy of the first page of the appeal court decision, dated Monday and seen by EURACTIV states that “the court of appeal of Rome ordered the release of the above-named person from prison if not detained for other reasons,” but did not mention asylum.

EURACTIV Italy contacted the spokespersons of the Italian Ufficio Stampa Ministro Dell’Iterno and Ufficio Stampa Polizia Di Stato and both said they were not following the case and had no further information on whether Llalla had been granted asylum. The court decision, including any reference to asylum, will be communicated to all Italian institutions in the coming days.

(Alice Taylor | Exit.al)