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Greece calls on Albania to release body of killed ethnic Greek, protect minorities

Greece has called on Albanian authorities to give the body of the killed ethnic Greek to his family and respect the protection of the Greek minority.

Alternate Foreign Minister Giorgos Katrougalos urged Albanian authorities to “immediately satisfy the request of the family and release the body” of 35-year-old Konstantinos Katsifas who was killed by police last Sunday.

Katsifas was killed in a massive police operation on  October 28, in the village of Vouliarates in South Albania, after he was firing with a Kalashnikov rifle.

Six days after Katsifas’ killing Albanian authorities have not allowed his family to take the body and arrange his funeral, although that autopsy has reportedly concluded.
The family said on Saturday that they have submitted four requests for the body to the prosecutor in Tirana but their requests were ignored. “We received neither yes nor No, what do they expect?” family members told Alpha TV.
However, the family had reportedly also filed against the police ad a second autopsy was allegedly to take place.
The killing of the member of the Greek minority in Albania has set bilateral relations on test and triggered a wave of mistrust with regards to information coming from Albanian authorities about the shooting .
“From the very beginning we have set our priorities, that is to shed full light into the circumstances that led to his death and protect the rights of our brothers and also protect our bilateral relations,” Katrougalos told daily Ta Nea.

He described as positive sign that Albanian authorities allowed the presence of a Greek police officer in the course of investigations. According to the Greek media, though, the presence was limited to a short briefing by the Albanian authorities.

The alternate minister stressed the need for both sides to be very careful noting that the extremism of one side triggers extremism and intolerance on the other side.

Katrougalos also underlined that Greece is waiting for Albania to adopt the normative acts and to fully implement the recent law on the protection of minorities.

“Protection of minority rights is one of the criteria for the European perspective of the neighboring country,” the minister said.
This issue is very sensitive and it is often hard to verify information posted on media.
Some Greek media claimed on Friday, that Albanian authorities were preparing a case file against Katsifas for illegal weapon procession and for shooting against police officers.
PS I can’t tell if this claim is true but it would be the first time I hear of a lawsuit against a dead person.

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