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Corruption, impunity remain problems in Albania - US State Dept.

Corruption, impunity remain problems in Albania - US State Dept. Albania flag

TIRANA (Albania), March 15 (SeeNews) – Pervasive corruption in all branches of government and impunity still remain problems in Albania, the US Department of State said in an annual report on human rights.

“Prosecution, and especially conviction, of officials who committed abuses was sporadic and inconsistent. Officials, politicians, judges, and persons with powerful business interests often were able to avoid prosecution,” the State Department said in the section on Albania of its global report on human rights practices for 2018 published earlier this week.

“In response, authorities have undertaken an internationally monitored vetting of judges and prosecutors, and have dismissed a significant number of officials for unexplained wealth or ties to organized crime,” the report reads.

According to the report, the Albanian authorities have also undertaken technical measures, such as allowing electronic payment of traffic fines and use of body cameras, to improve police accountability and punished some lower-level officials for abuses.

The report also referred to the June 2017 parliamentary elections, noting that “the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe reported the elections respected fundamental freedoms but were marred by allegations of vote buying and pressure on voters”.

Referring to role of the police, the report said that while the government had mechanisms to investigate and punish abuse and corruption, police corruption remained a problem.

“Personal associations, political or criminal connections, poor infrastructure, lack of equipment, and inadequate supervision often influenced law enforcement,” the report says.

Regarding freedom of expression, the report noted that independent media were active and expressed a wide variety of viewpoints, although there were efforts to exert direct and indirect political and economic pressure on the media, including by threats and violence against journalists who tried to investigate crime and corruption.