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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                                        

The Republic of Albania

Reports of police abuse of detainees continues. Prison inmates suffer from poor living conditions and a lack of adequate medical treatment.

[Freedom House Country Report, 2018]

Description: Description: Description: Description: Albania

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Albania.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

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Council of Europe anti-torture Committee announces periodic visits to eight countries in 2023

European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment CPT, 27 July 2022

[accessed 28 July 2022]

The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has announced today its 2023 programme of periodic visits.

The Committee intends to examine the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty in the following countries:  Albania, Armenia, Cyprus, Hungary, Luxembourg, Malta, North Macedonia, and the Slovak Republic.

Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on Albania

Executive Summary, 17 September 2019

[accessed 1 June 2020]

In  the  course  of  the  visit,  the  delegation  interviewed  a  large  number  of  persons  who  were  or  had recently been in police custody. The majority of them indicated that they had been treated correctly by the police. However, the delegation received a significant number of allegations of recent physical ill-treatment of  criminal  suspects  by  police  officers.  Most  of  these  allegations  concerned  use  of excessive force at the time of or immediately following apprehension. A number of such allegations also related to ill-treatment inflicted during transportation and/or at the time of initial questioning on police premises, apparently with a view to extracting a confession or obtaining information or as a punishment. The alleged ill-treatment consisted essentially of slaps, punches, kicks, blows with a hard object (e.g. a chair leg) and excessively tight handcuffing.

Karreç Detention Centre had several security (isolation) cells which were found to be in a very poor state of repair and in an appalling state of hygiene. The CPT expresses particular concern that foreign nationals were on occasion handcuffed to the bed inside a security cell. In at least one case, a foreign national had allegedly been hand-and ankle-cuffed to the bed in a stress position (spread-eagled) for 24 hours. In the CPT’s view, this practice could easily be considered to amount to inhuman and degrading treatment and should be stopped immediately.

At  Burrel Prison,  many  of  the  multiple-occupancy  cells  accommodating  sentenced  prisoners  were once again found to be in a poor state of repair. Clearly, the old and defective physical structure of the buildings and the penetrating dampness did not help matters. In addition, problems with heating persisted: the central heating was usually only turned on for a few hours per day.  On a more general note, it is a matter of concern that, in all the prisons visited, artificial lighting inside the cells had to remain switched on around the clock and could not be dimmed at night. Numerous complaints were  received  from  inmates  that  this  caused  sleeping  difficulties.  The Committee emphasises that exposure to artificial light  at night may  affect the natural sleep patterns and cause negative  health  effects  on  psychological,  cardiovascular  and/or  metabolic  functions  in individuals. Consequently, it recommends that this rule be abolished without delay.

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Albania

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 2 July 2021]


While the constitution and law prohibit such actions, there were allegations that police and prison guards sometimes beat and abused suspects and prisoners, usually in police stations.


Poor physical conditions and a lack of medical care, particularly for mental health conditions, were serious problems, as was corruption. Conditions remained substandard in some police detention facilities outside of Tirana and other major urban centers.


Pretrial Detention: While the law requires completion of most pretrial investigations within three months, a prosecutor may extend this period. The law provides that pretrial detention should not exceed three years. Extended pretrial detention often occurred due to delayed investigations, defense mistakes, or the intentional failure of defense counsel to appear. The law authorizes judges to hold offending attorneys in contempt of court. Limited material resources, lack of space, poor court-calendar management, insufficient staff, and failure of attorneys and witnesses to appear prevented the court system from adjudicating cases in a timely fashion. As of August, 47 percent of the prison and detention center population was in pretrial detention.

Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 11 May 2020]


Reports of police abuse of detainees continues. Prison inmates suffer from poor living conditions and a lack of adequate medical treatment.

Torture in Albania

International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (irct)

Developed in collaboration with the Albanian Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma and Torture (ARCT), June 2014

[accessed 23 June 2015]

[accessed 17 July 2017]

[accessed 28 December 2017]

Despite positive efforts, Albania continues to struggle with the national enforcement of its international commitments to anti-torture conventions. The Albanian criminal justice system fails to implement or to correctly interpret the Article 1 of the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT), and the courts never apply Article 86 of the Albanian Criminal Code on Torture, which stipulates that any act of torture is punishable by five to ten years in prison. Furthermore, the country suffers from an inherited culture of impunity due to the damage caused by the previous communist regime.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights OHCHR -- U.N. Doc. CAT/CO/34/ALB (2005)

[accessed 21 February 2013]


(a) Non-conformity of the definition of torture of the Criminal Code, with the definition of the Convention, which does not cover all the elements contained in its article 1, especially regarding persons acting in an official capacity;

(b) Qualification of acts of torture by law enforcement personnel only as “arbitrary acts” and, therefore, the treatment of those acts as less serious criminal offences;

(c) A climate of de facto impunity for law enforcement personnel who commit acts of torture or ill-treatment considering:

(i) Numerous allegations of torture and ill-treatment by law enforcement personnel, especially at the moment of arrest and interrogation,

(ii) Limited number of complaints regarding torture and ill-treatment, in particular to the Peoples’ Advocate,

(iii) Lack of prompt and impartial investigation of allegations of torture and ill treatment committed by law enforcement personnel, and

(iv) Absence of convictions in cases of torture, under article 86 of the Criminal Code, and limited number of convictions of torture with serious consequences, under article 87 of the Criminal Code, of law enforcement personnel, all of which may also indicate that there is a lack of victims’ awareness of their rights and that there is a lack of confidence in the police and judicial authorities;

(d) Difficulties for victims of torture and ill-treatment to file a formal complaint with public authorities, to obtain medical evidence in support of their allegations and to present that evidence;

(e) Allegations of cases of lack of independence of the judiciary;

(f) No universal jurisdiction of the Albanian courts in cases involving torture;

(g) Lack of clear legal provision prohibiting the use of any statement obtained under torture as well as of any clear legal provision stating that an order from a superior may not be invoked as justification of torture;

(h) Failure to ensure fair and adequate compensation, including rehabilitation for all victims of torture, including ex-political convicted and persecuted persons;

(i) Lack of implementation of the fundamental legal safeguards for persons detained by the police, guaranteeing the right to inform a relative, of access to a lawyer and a doctor of their own choice and to be provided with information about their rights and, in addition for juveniles, the presence of their legal guardians during interrogation;

(j) Poor conditions of detention and long pre-trial detention period, up to three years;

(k) The existence of an additional 10 hour administrative detention period for interrogation before the maximum 48 hour period is calculated for a person to be brought before a judge;

(l) Absence of visits to police stations by the Office of the Ombudsman on a regular and unannounced basis;

(m) Absence of systematic medical examination of detainees within 24 hours of their admission to prison, poor medical care in detention facilities, lack of training for medical personnel and medical personnel of prisons not under the authority of the Ministry of Public Health;

(n) Legal possibility of refoulement of persons without any procedures in cases of interests of public order or national security;

(o) The reported prevalence of violence against women and girls, including sexual and domestic violence, and the reluctance on the part of the authorities to, inter alia, adopt legislative and other measures to counter this phenomenon.


From an old article -- URL not available

Article was published sometime prior to 2015


Commissioners of the Ombudsperson’s Office visited Tirana police stations and detention centres following the January demonstrations. They stated that detained demonstrators, two of whom bore marks of physical ill-treatment, alleged being ill-treated during arrest, and that psychological pressure had been used to make them sign self-incriminating statements. Nine complaints of police ill-treatment were reportedly filed. In February, the Internal Control Service of the State Police undertook to investigate complaints, but by the end of the year no perpetrators had been brought to justice.

The Ombudsperson wrote to the Prosecutor General raising the case of Reis Haxhiraj, who was allegedly severely ill-treated during his arrest in March. The Ombudsperson stated that although his injuries were clearly visible, and he had complained of ill-treatment when brought before a judge to be remanded in custody, neither the police, prosecutor, judge or hospital staff had reported his ill-treatment or initiated an investigation. His requests to contact the Ombudsperson’s Office were ignored. The Prosecutor General subsequently instructed prosecutors and officers of the judicial police to collect evidence on the ill-treatment of detainees, in order to bring those responsible to justice, and an investigation was started into the alleged ill-treatment of Reis Haxhiraj.


In December Ilir Kumbaro failed to appear at an extradition hearing before a court in London, UK. Albania had sought his extradition from the UK to face charges of torture and abduction in connection with the enforced disappearance in 1995 of Remzi Hoxha, an ethnic Albanian from Macedonia, and the torture of two other men. The judge revoked his bail and issued a warrant for his arrest, but at the end of the year his whereabouts remained unknown. Trial proceedings continued in Tirana against Ilir Kumbaro in his absence, and two other former officers of the Albanian National Intelligence Service, Arben Sefgjini and Avni Koldashi.


For current articles:: Search Amnesty International Website

[accessed 25 December 2018]


Albania: Anti-torture committee concludes that the treatment of persons detained by the police has improved, but conditions of forensic psychiatric patients remain unacceptable

Council of Europe, 2018 News, 24 May 2018

[accessed 25 May 2018]

The vast majority of detained persons interviewed by the CPT’s delegation indicated that they had been treated correctly by the police, and the delegation received only a small number of allegations of recent physical ill-treatment by police officers (such as excessive use of force at the time of apprehension or slaps/punches during police questioning). Overall, the information gathered during the visit suggests that a positive trend has emerged as compared to the situation found during the previous visit in 2014. However, several persons claimed that they had been severely ill-treated by one particular police officer at Durres Police Station. Following an urgent request made by the CPT, the Albanian authorities initiated criminal and disciplinary investigations against the police officer concerned.

The CPT expresses its serious concern that, despite specific recommendations repeatedly made since the 2000 visit, forensic psychiatric patients continued to be held at Zaharia Special Facility for Ill Inmates in Kruja and the Prison Hospital in Tirana under conditions which, in the CPT’s view, could easily be considered to be inhuman and degrading. In fact, the living conditions in both establishments had further deteriorated since the 2014 visit (in particular in terms of state of repair and overcrowding, with some patients being obliged to sleep on mattresses on the floor), there was an almost total lack of heating and limited access to hot water. In addition, the level of psychiatric care remained clearly insufficient. The CPT calls upon the Albanian authorities to provide without further delay a detailed plan for the creation of a forensic psychiatric facility and to take the necessary steps to ensure the speedy setting-up of such a facility.

Human Rights Reports » 2006 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 6, 2007

[accessed 15 January 2013]

[accessed 2 July 2019]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The constitution and law prohibit such actions; however, the police and prison guards at times beat and abused suspects and detainees. The Albanian Helsinki Committee (AHC) and the Albanian Human Rights Group (AHRG) continued to report that police nationwide used excessive force or inhumane treatment. According to the AHRG, most mistreatment took place at the time of arrest or initial detention. Roma, Balkan-Egyptians, and homosexuals were particularly vulnerable to police abuse (see section 5).

In July the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) released a report based on its 2005 inspection of the country's prisons and detention centers. The report detailed widespread inhumane treatment and physical abuse of prisoners and detainees. During the year there were reports that police in various parts of the country, such as Korca and Vlora, beat and mistreated persons during their arrest or while in pretrial detention.

In May 2005 Besnik Kosturi filed charges against a Korca criminal police officer, Oltion Agolli, for mistreatment. The officer reportedly beat Kosturi for refusing to provide information on a pending case. Medical experts verified the abuse and the officer was suspended. The case was sent to the Korca district prosecutor's office, which declined to initiate formal proceedings due to lack of evidence.

In May the Vlora Office of Internal Police Control gathered information in the case of Arben Belaj against Dritan Veizaj, a member of the Vlora special police force, for allegedly beating Belaj. The information was forwarded to the Vlora District Military Prosecution and Veizaj was suspended from his duties pending the final court outcome.

The Shkodra District Military Prosecution investigated the 2005 case of Frendi Ndoci against Pjerin Lazri and other Shkodra police officers for allegedly beating him at the police commissariat. Lazri was found guilty and fined approximately $830 (80,000 lek).

At times police abused juvenile detainees. According to the Children's Human Rights Center of Albania (CHRCA), police sometimes used threats, violence, and torture to extract confessions from minors. In June Amarildo Perfundi, an 18-year-old high school student from Korca, was taken into custody for questioning for theft. Shortly after being released, Perfundi committed suicide. Several human rights organizations in the country criticized police handling of the case, citing psychological trauma and abuse on the part of police. The ombudsman investigated and found that the police had not followed legal procedures for arrest, detention, and questioning. The ombudsman concluded that the psychological trauma Perfundi sustained led him to commit suicide. Upon the recommendation of the ombudsman, the two officers involved, Altin Gusho and Gezim Mullai, were dismissed for failure to follow correct procedures. The case was forwarded to the district prosecutor's office for investigation and possible prosecution. The prosecutor found that there was insufficient evidence to bring charges against Gusho, and he was subsequently reinstated. Formal charges have been filed against Mullai.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 3   Civil Liberties: 3   Status: Partly Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 15 January 2013]

LONG URL   ç 2009 Country Reports begin on Page 21

[accessed 11 May 2020]

High-level crimes associated with the Balkan wars of the 1990s have gone unpunished. In 2008, current tax-service chief Arben Sefgjini was facing trial along with three former security-service colleagues for the 1995 torture and murder of a man who may have witnessed conversations between then president Berisha and Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic about oil smuggling.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, " Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Albania ", Albania.htm, [accessed <date>]