Socialist MP resigns following vicious beating perpetrated by MP’s family members, MoI sacked

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 8, 2023 23:57

Socialist MP resigns following vicious beating perpetrated by MP’s family members, MoI sacked

Story Highlights

  • Ruling party MP Rraja resigns after his family members viciously beat two men and filmed the ordeal 

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TIRANA, July 8 - A controversial ruling party MP in Albania has resigned after his son and two brothers were identified among the perpetrators by police in connection with the vicious beating of two men near their home town of Fushë Krujë.

The beating, filmed and distributed on social media by the assailants, also led to the sacking of Albania's interior minister, Bledi Çuçi, after police appeared to be slow in reacting and apprehending the suspects, which on top of their political connections to the ruling party have also have a history of crime-related charges.

Critics say the incident is the latest example in a series of cases that have the ruling Socialist Party associate itself with powerful local figures with shady backgrounds.

State Police say they have apprehended four individuals in total in Fushë Krujë and have declared several others as fugitives.

Videos, which show the assailants beating the men with baseball bats and threatening them with handguns, flooded social media and local news outlets.

The footage (link) shows the son of Socialist Party MP Rrahman Rraja, as well as his two brothers, along with at least five other individuals, violently attacking two men in a café using various objects.

-SP distributed Rraja's resignation statement-

Rraja said he was giving up his seat in parliament and withdrawing from political life because his son and two brothers are co-perpetrators of the incident and are among the individuals being sought by the police.

He expressed shame for his son's actions, acknowledging his failure as a parent, while the residents of the region that had previously elected him as their mayor and MP for terms deserved better, according to a PR message distributed to the Socialist Party. 

-MoI sacked following arrests-

Minister of Interior Bledi Çuçi condemned the violence committed by the group led by the MPs family members against the defenseless citizens.

He called the incident “serious and unacceptable,” adding that no one is above the law and that no one can escape responsibility under any circumstances.

However, later in the day, Prime Minister Edi Rama dismissed Çuçi and is expected to propose the chairman of the Socialist Party parliamentary group, Taulant Balla, for the MoI position.

Mr. Rama announced through Twitter that he would formalize these proposals with the President of the Republic on Monday. He did not provide further details about the reasons for the dismissal, and, as in previous instances, commended Mr. Çuçi "for his always correct work in this role."

Opposition representatives immediately linked the sacking to the Rraja incident, but noted that changing interior ministers would not address the core issue -- ties between the ruling party and problematic people and groups.

Minister Çuçi emphasized through Facebook that for two years he "worked in this difficult position with integrity, and together with the team of the Ministry of the Interior, we have addressed many challenges related to security, public order, immigration, civil status and local power."

-Beating meant to intimidate town’s people hurt by Rraja’s business-

The arrested individuals and those who are still fugitives are accused of intentional severe injury, possession and production of firearms without permits, organized crime, and obstruction of justice.

A large number of police forces were deployed for the recent arrests due to the high number of suspects being pursued and the difficult terrain, where a considerable number of individuals with criminal records often hide.

The victims of the violence, one of whom is in critical condition, are members of the Maja family, while the majority of the perpetrators belong to the Rraja family. However, the conflict extends further with the residents of the area due to a land dispute.

The residents have complained about construction and explosions tied to Rraja’s quarry business, where construction materials are produced. The business was being done on the disputed land without professional standards, endangering lives and damaging homes in the area -- which led to the two men seen beaten in the view to file complaints with the police.

The complaints and reports from the residents led to a violent reaction from the group led by the family members of the Socialist MP.

-Rrajas history of problems-

The Rraja clan is not new to this type of negative attention, having several past instances of criminal charges.

The incident of the assault on residents of the village of Borizanë was viewed by the general public as evidence of gang control over the country's territory and the ineffectiveness of the State Police in carrying out its primary duty of territorial control. 

On Saturday, the head of the State Police, Muhamet Rrumbullaku, met with the Minister of Interior Çuçi. At the end of the meeting, the police announced that the Fushë Krujë police station "will be reorganized," indirectly acknowledging the failure of territorial control in an infamous area known for the presence of organized crime.

Rrahman Rraja has been a member of the Socialist Party since 2017, but he gained notoriety in 2018 when a 25-year-old woman accused his son Rexhep of rape. A former police officer, Emiljano Nuhu, sought political asylum in Switzerland after stating that he had been threatened by the Rraja family. The progress of the rape case remains unclear.

In 2021, another member of the family, Redjan Rraja, was arrested on suspicion of involvement in the assassination attempt of a former prosecutor and an alleged organized crime figure.


Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 8, 2023 23:57