Thursday, July 1, 2010

Imam imprisoned for not complying with secret services

Islamic Human Rights Commission
 25 June 2010

1. Summary

Albanian Imam Muhmammad Abdullah also known as Artan Kristo has been detained without charge and under suspicion of inciting violence and terrorist acts, by Albanian authorities since October 2009.

Mr Abdullah denies this and claims that his statements were taken out of context and misinterpreted deliberately because he would not become an informer for the Albanian secret service.

2. Background

Muhammad Abdullah a convert to Islam is currently imprisoned and claims that he has been harassed by The Albanian Secret Service to become an informer on the Muslim community. Mr Abdullah who is the imam of a small mosque was arrested specifically for statements made in a lecture. The Muslim Forum of Albania (Human Rights NGO) have written a letter to Albanian authorities stating Mr Abdullahs statements are in no way an incitement to violence or terrorism.

Mr Abdullah’s attorney Llir Mandili argues that as well as attempting to recruit Abdullah, the Albanian secret services also eavesdropped on his phone calls without any authorisation by the courts and has refused Mandili access to the recordings.

Top-Channel TV reported Mr Abdullah's statement to the press where he says:  “I am innocent and do not [deserve] to remain behind bars because the words were taken out of context from a 60 minute speech…”
Albanian authorities are in breach of article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which states ‘..everyone shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law..’ as well as ‘…to be tried without undue delay…’ and ‘To examine, or have examined, the witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him..’.  As well as article 17 of the aforementioned covenant which states ‘No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.’

Considering that Mr Abdullah has not been charged, denied access to the prosecutions evidence against him and has had an unauthorised intrusion of privacy, the IHRC feel that at least two articles in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights have been breached by the Albanian authorities.

3. Action required  [ IHRC ]

Write to the following authorities requesting them to urge the Albanian government to allow citizens their right to receive a fair trial.

a) Minister of foreign affairs in your country, urging him/her to raise this issue with his/her Albanian counterpart. UK campaigners will find the appropriate address, fax and email on the sample letter below.

b) Albanian ambassador in your country. UK campaigners will find the appropriate address, fax and email on the sample letter below.