OPEN LETTER Albania shall pardon all LGBTI prisoners during communism

   Dear Mr. Meta,

The PINK Embassy and the Human Rights House of Human Rights in Albania (HRH) through this open letter, addressed to the President of the Republic of Albania, seeks to express its position and proposal regarding a forgotten group of prisoners during communism, people who at that time were convicted because of their conviction of being LGBT.

During 45 years of the communist regime in Albania, many people were convicted for being gay and considered criminals only because they loved someone of the same sex. All these people, whose number is still unknown, suffered for years in the prisons during the dictatorship. The communist system realised from the start that it was not only the words that could overthrow the system, but also acts of conscience - without words, the expressions of diversity of human being, starting from everyday life through dress and behaviour, to literature and art. And yet if the garments were a guarantee of lightning, attracting attention or threats, the love expressed between two men or boys constituted a crime and was punishable by imprisonment! The communist regime of that time for the first time decided to take by force, in addition to freedom of speech and ideology, Article 137 of the Criminal Code (1977), and the freedom of belief, love and sexual life of each individual.

Although the communist system collapsed 29 years ago, when Albania discussed its past and how to retribute all those who have suffer in communist prisons because of their conscience, the “prisoners of love” (LGBT prisoners) were not provided with any form of retribution, because there was no one who could speak on their behalf. Hence the Law No. 7514, dated 30.9.1991 "On innocence, amnesty and rehabilitation of former convicts and politically persecuted", (amended) did not include in the amnesty those convicts who during the communist period were forced to suffer deprivation of liberty only as a result of their sexual orientation or gender identity. These unjust punishments were imposed on people only because they expressed their sexual freedom, their conscience and belief in the individual freedoms and love.

Based on all these facts and data, today we ask the President of the Republic of Albania to exercise the pardon of the sentence for all LGBTI convicts unfairly and only in the name of love!

 

On behalf of the PINK Embassy and the Human Rights House (HRH)

 

Altin Hazizaj,

President of the Pink Embassy

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