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Delays and political maneuvering hold back DUI electoral fraud case

Dilaver Bekteshi, a high-ranking prosecutor, was a no-show for public deliberations at the Appellations court today, where members of the governing ethnic Albanian political party DUI are being charged with election fraud for the local elections in 2013.

Neither the charged Ejup Halimi, Ismet Guri or their lawyers appeared at the hearing which has been postponed on numerous occasions.

The prosecutor Bekteshi, who has been assigned the case, has acted contrary to the practice of supporting the lead prosecutor.

In this case, the prosecutor is Fatime Fetai, who was one of the three lead prosecutors in the Special Public Prosecutor body tasked with acting on evidence from the eavesdropped telephone conversations.

The court had issued a request for the confiscation of the passports belonging to Halimi and Guri, however, Bekteshi countered the decision by requesting them returned to the defendants.

In another example of inter-court wrangling, Bekteshi is against the minimum sentence for elections fraud, which is 5 years jail time. The prosecutor wants charges against the defendants dropped altogether.

Fetai has challenged the initial verdict of 3.5 year sentences for Halimi and Guri, moving the case to the Appellations court.

According to the indictment, Halimi and Guri had falsified the election results in the municipality of Chair in favour of the mayoral candidate of DUI.

With the help of the votes that the two falsified from the list of people voting for VMRO, the candidate of the Democratic Party of the Albanians lost the election to DUI.

According to records from the court’s archive from today, the defendants’ lawyers had filed a formal request for holding a closed instead of open session. The lawyers also specified that their clients refuse to appear at the closed session for statements.

The election fraud case Titanik 3 against Ejup Halimi and Ismet Guri, both functionaries of SDSM’s coalition partner DUI, shows clear signs of political meddling.

Ismet Guri was part of an incident in 2019, confirmed by the media, where he was accused of physically attacking the mother and brother of the so-called El Cheka, named Sheqerim Ahmeti.

El Cheka who has been releasing secretly recorded telephone conversations implicating members of DUI inspired an anti-DUI protest by ethnic Albanians in Chair in 2019.

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