The events of torture, internment, executions, imprisonments, suffered by intellectuals, identified as “national threat”, happened in a 6-year period, starting from 15 December 1944 when the ”Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation” established in Tirana the Special Court for judging war crimes and enemy spies. The classification of several trials as special was not written in any legal act for establishing a Special Court, but rather from the importance and the important role that the accused had in Albanian politics. The only trials that were held by a special court were the trials of those accused of war crimes, all other preceding courts were held by special military courts. The Special Trials (gjygjet e popullit) were held in cinemas, theatres and other inappropriate halls. A noted characteristic of special courts in communism the durability of the trials which lasted less than a few months, unlike in some other communist countries, where some trials lasted up to the ’80s.
The Communist State until the completion of the legislation in 1952, addressed to the existing provisions of 1939 adding special criminal laws such as the laws for the punishment of saboteurs or those for the organization of the judiciary. Despite the new constitution provided right for the defendants to be free if found not guilty or the right to defend themselves, de facto these principles were not taken into account so that to give priority to the dictatorship of the proletariat which protected its citizens.
The State Security was the prosecuting body of the penal crimes and could cooperate or not with the prosecution which was inferior to this organ. Many sentences that were ordered, many executions many decisions were taken without trail with only the sole purpose the elimination of all intellectuals and opposes of the communist system.
Here are some key moments of the Special Trials:
The trial of ex-state officials (On December 31, 1944 was held in the old prison in Tirana)
Outcome: In March-April 1945 was held the trail on 60 personalities accused as “war criminals and collaborators with fascism”, who were important government officials during the first half of the XX century. The judges justified their sentence that all was done “in the name of people “, leading to the execution 17 statesmen, and imprisoned dozens of others who had not committed any crime, except that they were worthy inhabitants of their country.
The trial against the nationalists. (On July 3, 1946)
Outcome: In 1945-1948, the Albanian Nationalism suffered the most barbaric persecution that history has ever known. The dictator Hoxha appointed the Interior Minister, general Koci Xoxe for carrying out this mission, which with the help of the Security of State, the Police, the Prosecution and the Military Courts enacted the directives of the Political Bureau for the annihilation of the Albanian nationalists through special courts which were illegal and unprecedented.
The Supreme Military Court sentenced by execution on July 3, 1946 9 main leaders of the Democratic Union and imprisoned 37 other members. The “group of deputies” of the resistance and social democrat suffered the same fate. The evidence was fabricated by the security of State as an organised activity “against the people” ‘in order to give the most severe punishments and eliminate all opposing groups in the country.
The trial of the “Saboteurs of Maliq” (On November 8, 1946, Friday at the “National” Cinema hall)
Outcome: It was a trial planed in advance, the first session was held in early November of 1946. The supposed failure the Maliq swamp drying became the pretext and the tragic scene where the shameful act with the life of the intellectuals was played. Two engineers were hanged, 5 were shot among them a pregnant woman and dozens were arrested.
The trial of Deputies (September 1947)
Outcome: 3 hanged, 13 executed and others were imprisoned. The place of burial was kept secret, in the registers only the note “in the right place” could be found, places were never revealed by the communist state.
The trial for the bomb in the Soviet Embassy (On February 27, 1951)
Outcome: The Security of State executed 22 people, selected for their high patriotism, but without any connection to the event, not only that but the execution was carried out without trial, without investigation and without being informing the defendants for the accusation. The Supreme Military Court after the execution, was called to forge the papers as requested by the Security of State and by the leadership of the party for the execution.
The panel of judges of the first special trial consisted of: Koci Xoxe head-General lieutenant, Hysni Kapo member-colonel, Beqir Balluku lieutenant-colonel, Faik Shehu lieutenant-colonel, Bilbil Klosi member-major, Medar Shtylla member-doctor, Halim Budo member-lawyer, Gaqo Floqi member-lawyer and prosecutor Bedri Spahiu. The members of the panel were lead by Koci Xoxe, they had no former education in law, and some of them did not have not even an high school degree. A few years later the prosecutor Bedri Spahiu charges Koci Xoxe as a spy with the foreign Secret Services, later he was executed.