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News 03 Oct 12

Albania Former Political Prisoners to Hold Rally

A group of communist-era prisoners of conscience will hold a rally in front of the parliament on Thursday to protest their treatment by the government.

Besar Likmeta
BIRN
Tirana
The Fall of Enver Hoxha's Statue in central Tirana, on January 7, 1991

A number of former prisoners started a hunger strike in Tirana on September 25, requesting the government to pay out the compensation that is owed to them.

A law passed in 2007 granted the former political prisoners of the communist regime a certain amount of compensation dependent on the time spent in prison.

However, the government has divided the payment into seven segments and in the past five years, only one of those segments has been payed out.

The communist party ruled Albania with an iron fist for nearly half a century.

Albania’s association of former political prisoners believes that 5,577 men and 450 women were executed during the communist rule from 1946 to 1991, while tens of thousands may have been imprisoned or sent to labour camps.

On Monday a group of civil society activists, intellectuals and journalists issued a statement in support of the strikers, urging the government to address their grievances.

“21-years ago the Albanian state admitted that it had illegally imprisoned the former political prisoners,” the statement reads, adding that “every state where there is rule of law should compensate those wrongly incarcerated.”

Thursday's rally also has the backing of several civil society organizations.

 

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