The following account is based on an Albanian news report about a trial that took place earlier this month. Nine defendants were charged with crimes related to the recruiting of mujahideen in Albania, some of whom were dispatched to Syria to fight in the jihad.
Many thanks to Dr. Ilia Toli for providing this summary of the video report:
A total of 152 years in jail for the defendants accused of recruiting fighters for Syria. This was the request of the public prosecutor for the nine defendants in the Court of Grave Crimes, where the final conclusions of the investigation were read.
The defendants are accused for the recruitment of persons for the commitments of crimes with terroristic intentions, financing of terrorism and incitement of hate or discord. The most severe sentence requested was twenty years in prison, requested by the prosecutor for three defendants, the imams Genci Balla, Gerti Pasha and Bujar Hysa, each of whom, according to the prosecution, had played the role of organizer in this criminal activity.
For the other defendants, whom the prosecution described as playing the role of collaborators or helpers, the prosecution requested fifteen years in jail, except for the defendant Zeqir Ymeri, for whom seventeen years was requested, also accused of carrying weapons without a permit.
The prosecution qualified the accusations against the defendants “of high social danger”, adding that they must be kept in a high-security prison. The trial procedure was interrupted several times because of the tensions during the court session. The defendants accused the prosecution of being fraudulent. One of them, Fadil Myslimani, very well known for strong declarations, said that it was not a crime to do what they did, but it was jihad.
Also the defense lawyers spoke outside of the session against the request of the prosecution. “It is an attempt of the prosecution to legitimate its own unproven actions.”
The nine defendants were arrested in March 2014. They are accused of being involved in activities that send fighters to Middle East, especially Syria. According to the dossier of the prosecution, there are sufficient facts that the defendants, mainly during 2013, convinced and sent to Syria various Albanian citizens with the intention of uniting them with armed radicals that are active in that area, where some of them have also lost their lives.