Pro-government media in Albania has published a series of allegations regarding the comeback of former president Ilir Meta, labelling him as a Communist-era secret police collaborator.
The allegations were published soon after Meta announced his return to politics as an opposition leader with the Socialist Movement for Integration, now the Freedom Party.
Meta was elected Albania’s president in 2017, leaving his post at the head of the party to his wife, Monika Kryemadhi. Kryemadhi resigned five years later.
The media claims were published after Authority for Information on Former State Security Documents announced it had received a request to verify information that a politician with the initials I.M. had been named as an informer for the Sigurimi, Albania’s Communist-era secret police.
Pro-government media was quick to link Meta to the request for verification.
Several outlets have said that Meta gave information to the Sigurimi about a classmate who had wanted to flee Albania. Another outlet claimed it had interviewed the classmate in question, who denied that Meta was the individual who had informed on him.
Meta has also denied the claims made against him. He hit back at the Authority for Information on Former State Security Documents, calling it the “Manipulations Authority”.
Meta announced his return to politics on Monday. His return had already between anticipataed thanks to his efforts in organising protests against Prime Minister Edi Rama’s government in 2020. Meta was also actively involved in campaigning during last year’s general elections.
Speaker of parliament Lindita Nikolla said she was “shocked” about the request for information, and said she is ready to call for a special parliamentary session regarding the issue. She did not give any further details about the individual accused of being a Sigurimi informer.
According to historian Kastriot Dervishi, reports by collaborators were included in files kept by the Authority, and that pseudonyms were typically used for informers. The fact that an individual’s initials, Dervishi told reporters, is not a guarantee that they were working for the Sigurimi.
Albania’s State Security archive has been kept locked since the fall of the Communist regime in 1991. In 1995, a new law declared the archive secret for 25 years, and a subsequent law passed in 2015 has indefinitely classified the archive.
To date, Albania has not carried out specific justice processes following the fall of the Communist regime, nor has it brought charges against officials for crimes committed during Communist rule.
Image by Giorgi Abdaladze via Wikimedia