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Foreign Ministry spokesman’s reply to questions regarding an article in today’s Albanian press on the murder of Aristotelis Goumas

Wednesday, 06 April 2011

Foreign Ministry spokesman Gregory Delavekouras made the following reply to journalists’ questions regarding reports in the Albanian press that an investigation by experts found that “Aristotelis Goumas died in a car accident caused by himself”:

“On 12 August 2010, a group of nationalists pursued and murdered the Greek Albanian Aristotelis Goumas for speaking Greek.

Their crime was condemned across the political spectrum in Albania. Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha stated that “it is a horrible act for someone to be murdered on their way home. It is a barbarous act.” The deputy prime minister at the time, Ilir Meta, stated that “I believe that the prosecutor and competent authorities will get to the bottom of this abominable crime and punish the perpetrators to the full extent of the law.”

If the articles in a portion of the Albanian press reflect the reality of the situation – that is, that the findings of the expert committee show it was an accident for which the victim was responsible – it raises strong concerns as to how, after nine months of investigation, what the Albanian political and judicial branches considered an abominable crime is now being called an accident.

We will monitor the progress of the judicial process very closely. We expect Albania – a member state of the Council of Europe and a candidate for accession to the EU – to ensure that justice is done properly and swiftly; justice that is the only concrete reply to the reasonable concerns of the Greek National Minority. Greece has no desire to get involved in Albanian judicial procedures, but we are keeping all options open as to actions to be taken in the future.”

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