A mass grave has been discovered in Permet in the south of Albania, believed to contain the remains of those executed during the Communist regime.
The discovery was made by a construction company that was paving the roads in a neighborhood of the town. The site covers around 100sqm and is believed to contain the remains of five people.
Police have been notified and have sealed the area, pending forensic investigations.
During Albania’s communist regime, and prior to its formal establishment, communists murdered thousands of Albanian citizens. Many were tortured and killed, executed without trial, murdered, or died from horrific conditions in prison and labor camps throughout the country. More than 30 years since the fall of the regime, there are just under 7,000 people still missing.
The state and prosecution are not actively investigating the whereabouts of these people and family members have been prevented from pursuing investigations themselves. Cases have been sitting with the prosecution for years with no progress made.
There are no state memorials for any victims of communism, or those missing. There is also no national day of remembrance and many families have not had justice or compensation. Additionally, there haven’t been any prosecutions or convictions of those involved in the execution and torture of others during these times. Even more concerningly, there are many individuals who worked in state security and the communist judiciary, in positions of authority and power today.
Many families have given up hope of ever locating their loved ones’ remains, meanwhile, others are emigrating or passing away. Albania is less than one generation away from those who can testify for these crimes, dying out.
Nebil Ceka, head of the Association of Former Politically Persecuted said that this location is where many dissidents and opponents of the regime were executed as it was the premises of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. He claimed the grave was first known about two weeks ago but that the state and Prosecutor’s office is yet to react.
“The Albanian state has a moral and legal obligation to clarify what happened here,” he said.
Exit is working on a one-year project to commemorate the missing victims. You can see the documentaries and read the articles here.
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