BELGRADE, Dec 31: Albania’s Special Court on Corruption and Organised Crime has sentenced former Prime Minister Sali Berisha to house arrest on Saturday for corruption charges.
The Special Prosecutor’s Office for Corruption and Organised Crime (SPAK) had previously imposed a “judicial control condition” and a “ban on leaving the country” against Berisha, reported Anadolu Agency.
An appeal of the decision can be made to the Albanian Special Appeals Court for Corruption and Organised Crime.
Berisha did not attend the hearing but his lawyers were present.
The Albanian parliament voted Thursday to remove legal immunity for Berisha, who currently leads the opposition Democratic Party.
The ruling Socialist Party gained the support of 75 lawmakers in the 140-seat parliament to pass a request from prosecutors to lift Berisha’s immunity.
The decision paved the way for prosecutors to pursue court approval for Berisha’s arrest or placement under house arrest.
Berisha, 79, was charged with favouring his son-in-law in the privatisation of state land during his term as prime minister.
The Special Prosecution Office formally asked Dec 12 for the removal of the parliamentary immunity granted to Berisha to allow him to be placed under house arrest.
Berisha denied the charges and said the move was illegal and politically motivated.
He accused his political rival, Prime Minister Edi Rama, of trying to eliminate opposition from parliament.
Berisha served as prime minister between 2005 and 2013 and as president from 1992 and 1997.
The United States banned Berisha and his immediate family from entering due to their alleged involvement in corruption in 2021.
TAGS: Albania, former Prime Minister Sali Berisha, house arrest, corruption