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MEK Reaction unacceptable, intolerable, and reprehensible; says Interior Minister

Albanian Police Seize Computer Equipment In Raid Of Camp For Iranian Dissidents

Albania's Interior Minister Bledi Cuci

Members of the Mujahedin-e Khalk protest the police action on June 20 in Tirana

Albanian state police seized dozens of computers on June 20 during a raid of a camp near Tirana that has been home to about 3,000 members of the Mujahedin-e Khalk (MEK), a group of exiled opponents of the Iranian government.

Local media reported that the group is suspected of orchestrating cyberattacks against foreign institutions, but police declined to provide specifics on what the investigation was about.

The operation was carried out on the orders of the Albanian judiciary due to the violation of agreements the group made when they settled in Albania a decade ago, police said.

Representatives of the MEK said that one person died as a result of the use of tear gas by the police, but Albania’s interior minister and the police, who released a video recording of the operation, denied responsibility.

Albania's Interior Minister Bledi Cuci

Albania’s Interior Minister Bledi Cuci

The reported death of an elderly person had nothing to do with the actions of the police, Interior Minister Bledi Cuci said.

“I guarantee you that no person was touched during the police operation,” Cuci said at a news conference, adding that the reaction of the MEK was unacceptable, intolerable, and reprehensible.

“They are in Albania according to an agreement that stipulates that they will not carry out political activities or protests, and they are sheltered only for humanitarian purposes,” Cuci said.

State Police Director-General Muhamet Rrumbullaku said 15 police officers and 21 members of the MEK were injured and several police cars were damaged.

He said MEK members began to resist when police found server rooms and computer equipment that they suspected were illegal. Police seized 96 computer units and about 50 laptops and tablets, he said, adding that there was an attempt to burn some documents during the operation.

The raid was part of an investigation by the Special Structure Against Organized Crime and Corruption (SPAK). None of the officials disclosed what the SPAK investigation is about.

“The prosecutor’s office has initiated several criminal cases, but I cannot tell you why the Iranians of the MEK are suspected,” Cuci said.

He also refused to say whether members of the MEK were in hiding in the camp after cyberattacks carried out in July, which led Albania to severe diplomatic relations with Iran.

Rrumbullaku said that all who used violence against the police have been identified and that there will be consequences for the leaders of the camp who did not cooperate.

Police said earlier they had launched a probe into the MEK’s allegations.
With reporting by AFP

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