Amnesty welcomes court decision to allow extradition of wanted Albanian secret policeman hiding

Amnesty International welcomed the court decision today to allow the extradition of Ilir Kumbaro, a former member of Albania’s secret police, to face charges of abduction and torture in his home country. Kumbaro has spent the last 13 years living in the UK under a false identity, having successfully applied for asylum and subsequently gained British citizenship.

The court found that the defendant is indeed Ilir Kumbaro and that his extradition to Albania would not breach his human rights. The case has now been referred to the Secretary of State to rule on his extradition.

Amnesty expects that Ilir Kumbaro will now be returned to Albania where he will stand trial, together with two other former secret police officers, on charges that he took part in the abduction and torture of three men in October 1995. One of these men, an ethnic Albanian from Macedonia called Remzi Hoxha, is believed to have died under torture. Remzi Hoxha’s body has never been found.

Amnesty International has campaigned for many years for those responsible for Remzi Hoxha’s enforced disappearance to be brought to justice, and has been observing the extradition proceedings in London.

Amnesty International Director Kate Allen said:

“Amnesty welcomes the court’s decision to allow the extradition of Ilir Kumbaro to stand trial in Albania on charges that he took part in the abduction and torture of Remzi Hoxha.

“We have campaigned for many years on this case, calling on the Albanian authorities to clarify the fate of Remzi Hoxha and to bring to justice those responsible for his disappearance. After 14 years, the Hoxha family deserves to know the truth about what happened.

“There can be no safe havens for torturers and kidnappers - all countries should ensure that human rights abusers can find nowhere to hide. With this decision the UK is furthering the cause of international justice.”

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