Rezart Taçi, president of the Taçi Oil company and one of the alleged protagonists of the violence against Mero Baze, editor and director of the daily Tema, presented himself to the police last Thursday. Taçi presented himself to the Tirana Police Directorate together with his lawyers, a few hours after Judge Fahrije Budo of the Court of Tirana decided on the remand in custody for him and his two bodyguards already arrested by the police on day after the episode.
Taçi is accused of "violence during the execution of the service in collaboration with others", a charge that in the Albanian penal code provides for a sentence of up to two years. The news of his surrender was transmitted by Albanian television stations accompanied by an audiovisual declaration by Taçi that rejected the accusations made against him and expressed his willingness to confront the Albanian justice.
As the BBC's Albanian edition notes, the appearance of Taçi on TV is an unusual case for a person wanted by the police. During the interrogation, according to the Shekulli newspaper, Taçi stated that he had not used violence against Baze, without providing further details on the incident.
Instead, yesterday morning, the judge Budo in the session of communication and revaluation of the precautionary detention measure against Taçi, decided to leave him in jail, despite his lawyers have requested the release under the bail of 100.000 euro. The 4 last November, the Tgcom of Mediaset published a letter from Taçi in which the Albanian oilman reiterates that he "did not have any physical conflict" with Baze and that he had interacted during his professional life with others "without ever violating the no one's physical and / or moral integrity, let alone journalists ”even when the latter proved to be particularly hostile towards him.
For Taçi the accusations against him are the continuation of a denigratory strategy with the aim of tarnishing his image and that of his company. In recent days, violence against Baze has been denounced by the entire political and institutional world. The President of the Republic Bamir Topi condemned the violence on Baze and appealed to the Albanian policy of "analyzing the incident with concern, making a real commitment to guarantee the freedom and independence of the media".
Even Prime Minister Berisha through his press office and his deputy Meta condemned the act and demanded the arrest and condemnation of the authors. Instead for Edi Rama, at the helm of the Socialist Party, the real inspiration behind the attack on Baze is Berisha who should denounce the act in person and not through his press office. The socialist opposition has not spared the accusations against the government also in this case. On Wednesday, Saimir Tahiri, a Socialist deputy, calling Rezart Taçi "the spoiled of Sali Berisha and his family", claimed that the State Police cannot tell the citizens where Taçi is, not because he is not competent but because to find him "He will have to search Sali Berisha's office and house because there he hides both Rezart Taçi and the corruption and lawlessness he represents".
Also the daily Tema, directed by Baze, last Thursday pointed out that the State Police has not moved to stop Taçi, despite having been declared wanted. The condemnation also by many Albanian journalists was unanimous. On Wednesday, their associations and representatives of civil society organized a protest sit-in outside the offices of the Council of Ministers in defense of freedom of expression and against acts of violence against journalists.
At the end of the protest, the participants threw shoes at the government headquarters to demonstrate that the politicians turned into servants at the feet of the strong powers. Instead, yesterday in an appeal to public opinion, 135 journalists requested a new law according to EU standards on freedom of the press.
"In recent times, Albanian journalists have been confronted with physical violence, pressures to change editorial policy through warnings and forced resignations of well-known journalists, selective government positions in advertising market orientation and 'blatant encouragement by the governmental majority of the language of hatred towards critical journalists' can be read in the public warning of members of the fourth power.
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