The Appeal of Albania’s Special Court for Corruption and Organized Crime (GJKKO) on Monday rejected a request by Fredi Beleri, the ethnic-Greek mayor-elect of Himare, to be sworn in before the municipal council.
His lawyer, as cited in local reports, said, “The right to elections is being violated; the oath should have been taken.” He further criticized the court’s decision, alleging a “fascist spirit,” and emphasized that no reason was provided for the rejection.
Beleri’s defense reportedly mentioned their intention to seek the dismissal of the judge, with plans to appeal to the country’s Supreme Court.
Beleri was arrested in May on charges of voting fraud, just before securing victory in the municipal election in the predominantly ethnic-Greek southern Albanian region. He is held in pretrial detention.
The situation has strained Greek-Albanian relations, with Athens threatening to impede the Balkan country’s EU membership aspirations over the issue.