Albanian journalist who called EU diplomat 'terrorist' freed

AP News
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Posted: May 10, 2017 12:01 PM

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — An Albanian court on Wednesday released a journalist who had been accused of making calls for violence against a European Union diplomat, after prosecutors decided he had committed no crime.

Police had arrested Kastriot Myftaraj, 51, who is also a lawyer politically affiliated with the center-right opposition, the previous day after he wrote on Facebook that Romana Vlahutin, EU ambassador to Tirana, was a "terrorist."

A police statement said Myftaraj was arrested "after publishing an article where he makes open calls to commit violent acts against constitutional order."

A local online media site, www.syri.net republished Myftaraj's story, writing that "any Albanian citizen loving his country may kill Romana and that would be an anti-terrorist act, not a terrorist one."

Ismail Kadare, Albania's most famous novelist, issued a public letter to Vlahutin to express his sorrow for the words used by the journalist, telling her she has assisted the country's progress so much.

Vlahutin has been a key player in the country's efforts at judicial reform, considered as key before the European Union will launch full membership negotiations with Albania.

"I would be ready to bow to knees to express my regrets and to assure you that gratitude for you is inviolable," Kadare told Vlahutin.

Myftaraj could have faced up to three years in jail if convicted.