By Dashnor Kaloçi
The first part
– The secret documents of the State Security are revealed, with the last words of the rebel general Halim Xhelo, shortly before “hanging himself”, in the prison of Burrel, on May 25, 1975
Memorie.al / It was the morning of May 24, 1975, when the internal guards of the Burrel prison, after a routine check of the rooms, informed their superiors and the command of that department, that; the convict Halim Xhelo, was without signs of life, after he had hanged himself on the bars of the tower in his cell. The former general of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, originally from the village of Dukat i Vlora, who served the sentence as a political prisoner since 1966, when he held the position of Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and, at the same time, Deputy Director of State Security and the head of the Security Sector Branch in the Ministry of People’s Defense, after an anonymous letter he wrote to Enver Hoxha, where he, after raising the issue of the removal of ranks in the Army and the Ministry of the Interior, denounced the line political error that was being followed by the high leadership of PPSh and personally the first secretary of the Central Committee (Enver Hoxha), copying the Chinese model, where as a result, the cooperative peasantry in particular, but also the entire Albanian people, were immersed and they lived in deep misery.
Although in the following years, even until the end of the 80s, in the prison of Burrell, several other former generals who served their sentences there, well-known names, (the main figures of the Anti-Fascist War who held the titles “People’s Heroes”), such as: Gjin Marka Toma, Vaskë Gjino, Vehbi Hoxha, etc., the death of the rebel general, Halim Xhelo, who was said to have committed suicide, (official version), from that time and after , has been discussed at length, with different hypotheses. A part of his co-sufferers in that prison, but also others outside the prison, truly believed that he had hanged himself, while others opposed it, as impossible to commit, in the conditions where he was.
But, more than the mystery of the circumstances of his death in Burrel prison and his physical elimination, General Halim Xhelo, there has been talk about the reasons that forced Enver Hoxha to keep him in those positions and high functions at the top of the State Security, even with the high rank of general, at a time when his father, Xhelo Koçiu, former senior exponent of the nationalist organization “Balli Kombëtar” During the War period, in 1949, he escaped from Albania and was in the USA, as a political asylum seeker. Which was one of the only cases, not only in Enver Hoxha’s Albania, but also in the entire Communist East?
Based on the above, those who really believed the official version of Halim Xhelos’ suicide, connect it with the period in which it happened (May 24, 1975), at which time the former Minister of People’s Defense, general- lieutenant, Beqir Balluku, who was interned in Roskovec, Fier, after being accused and beaten by Enver Hoxha, as: “head of the coup group in the Army and enemy of the people”!. The suicide of Halim Xhelos, precisely in this period of time, was related to the fact that he, (Halimi), had committed that act, after learning of the arrest of Balluk, from whom he hoped that he would intervene and release him from prison!
It was said that; Beqir Balluku had been the man who had encouraged Halim Xhelo to write that anonymous letter, addressed to Enver Hoxha, something about which there were doubts, because they both had a lot of friendship with each other. The suspicions of the State Security that; Balluku could have incited Halim Xhelo for the anonymous letter, it is known, because at that time, as soon as Balluku ended up in the investigation cells in Tirana’s ‘Prison 313’, the Deputy Minister of the Interior, Feçor Shehu, sent a letter to the investigators of of him (Nevzat Haznedari and Kristofor Martiro), where he requested that: “The enemy of the people, Beqir Balluku, should also be asked about the letter that Halim Xhelo sent to the main leaders of the Party in 1966”.
But this version, i.e. the real reason for the death of Halim Xhelos in Burrel prison, would change in 1982, (after the arrest of the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Feçor Shehu and his former superior, Kadri Hazbiu) , by suicide, would be classified as murder. Making Hazbiu and Feçor Shehu its author! This is also proven by archival documents, since immediately after the arrest of the former Minister of the Interior, Kadri Hazbiu and his former subordinate, Feçor Shehu in 1982, the Deputy Minister of the Interior and simultaneously the Director of State Security, Zylyftar Ramizi, in their analyses, informed the group of investigators that; Halim Xhelon, had poisoned Kadri Hazbiu with Feçor Shehu, fearing that he (Halimi) would testify for Beqir Balluk, (showing that he had instigated him for the anonymous letter), with whom Hazbiu and Feçor Shehu were in a hostile group, headed by the police agent, Mehmet Shehu!
LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR OF STATE INSURANCE AND VP / MINISTER OF INTERIOR AFFAIRS, ZYLYFTAR RAMIZI, ADDRESSED TO MINISTER HEKURAN ISAI, TO RE-OPEN THE DEATH FILE OF FORMER GENERAL HALIM XHELO, IN BURREL PRISON
I think we should verify the case of Halim Xhelos, about his suicide, is it true, or is it prepared?
SECRET DOCUMENT DRAWED UP BY OPERATIVE WORKER YLLI BIRÇE, RELATING TO THE STUDY OF THE FILE WHICH DESCRIBED THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE DEATH OF FORMER GENERAL HALIM XHELO, IN BURREL PRISON
Tirana, on 27.11.1982 S E K R E T
I N F O R M A T I O N
From the study I made of the investigative file in charge of the enemy Halim Xhelo, it turns out:
Halim Xhelo was re-arrested on 30.5.1975, for the reason that he refused to take out the items and in the presence of witnesses; Hajredin Kodheli, Bajram Beshiri, Sadik Behta, Isuf Kuka, Osman Deda, Rrahman Sula and Zyber Beshiri, said:
“What is done in Albania is done only with blacks in the USA. You better be black. Kill me, hang me, as you have hanged others, and say you hanged yourself. You say the same about me, take me to Kershia, about which a novel talks, therefore, I’d better be in America too.” On this basis, in his charge, the criminal case started under arrest and ended on 5.6.1975. Before the investigation file went to the Prosecutor’s Office, on 24.6.1975, he was found in the isolation room, hanging himself.
In the minutes of the questioning of Tahir Hysa, regarding the circumstances of Halim Xhelos’s hanging, the following key moments draw my attention:
- On that day, Halim Xhelo, refused to go out on the air, with the pretext: “he had no strength, he would faint and collapse”.
- Tahir Hoxha, (responsible for the isolation rooms), ordered the service policeman, Tahir Hoxha, to; “Halimin should be careful not to make any movement” and in case he finds out something like that, he should notify him immediately. It draws my attention, this concern of Tahir Hysa, for Halim Xhelon, that very day. What “movement” was Tahiri talking about, when the service personnel of the isolation rooms, must receive and dose the service, in the confirmations with the regulation?!
- Below, Tahir Hysa continues: “…I also add, that the wire mesh, in the window of the isolation room lighting, was cracked, before Halim Xhelo came. I don’t know who did it. I found this before Halim Xhelo came…!
Why this careless attitude of Tahir Hysa and the service rooms, who, although they had ascertained the crack in the wire mesh, did not take any measures to repair it, which gave the opportunity to the enemy Halim Xhelo, or someone else, to performed this act.
N/Officer, Gani Punavija, among other things, says: “…when I received the service, everything was in order. After I left, the person in charge of the isolation rooms, Tahir Hysa, entered. I later did not enter. The operative, I don’t remember when he entered (it was Dhori Zarka).
At 10.00, Tahir Hoxha told me that; Halim fainted and remained at the foot of the wall. At this time, we opened the door and Operative Dhori Zarka entered. After a few minutes, he came out and at this time, the person in charge of the isolation rooms, Tahir Hysa, came and again the Operative entered with him. When they came out, they said that Halim had been found hanging…!
N/Officer, Tahir Hoxha, among other things, says: “…I checked the isolation rooms every 10 minutes. When I saw the room where Halim was, I found that he was lying down and I didn’t tell him to go, because I knew that he had been sick before and had fainted before, for 3-4 minutes…!
When I checked the last time, I saw that Halim was no longer lying down, but in the corner of the left wing, of the isolation room, and he was barely visible. I spoke to him several times, but he did not answer me and I immediately notified the Operative, who came and saw him through the window of the door. I told him to open the door, but he told me that; “It’s not necessary, because I have nothing to look at”!
Officer Dhori Zarka, among other things, says: “After Sub-officer Tahir Hoxha informed me, I went to the isolation rooms, together with Tahir Hysa, and then we informed the head of the Prosecutor. At 06.00 in the morning, I brought non-commissioned officer Gani Punavija into the isolation rooms, to hand over the service and take over the service of the guards. Also, at 6:00 in the morning, Tahir Hysa, who carried out the actions, entered with the detainees”.
Regarding the above, I am of the opinion that; must be fully clarified, the circumstances of the suicide of the enemy Halim Xhelo, as we may be before any action on the part of the enemies Kadri Habziu and Feçor Shehu, who, having previously been acquainted with the first depositions of Halim Xhelo, which begins to shed light with the hostile activity of Beqir Balluku, there were concerns that he (Halimi) was also depositing for the enemies, Kadri Hazbiu, Feçor Shehu and Mihallaq Ziçishti.
Attached to this information is the information of Flamur Sinoimer, regarding the depositions of Halim Xhelos, to the investigator.
THE HANDWRITTEN NOTE OF ENVER ZENELI (THE CHIEF OF THE OPERATIONAL GROUP, FOR CLEARING THE ENEMY ACTIVITY OF KADR HAZBI), AT THE END OF THE DOCUMENT, WITH ORDERS AND INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE CLEARING OF THE DEATH OF FORMER GENERAL HALIM XHELO
Urgently verify where Tahir Hysa is, to extract all the materials available for him.
- The process of receiving the defendant and the depositions made by him.
- Who started the investigative process, when he was found addicted, the opinion of the experts, the questions of the witnesses, etc.
All this should be included in a file and we will make a concrete plan to discover the real reasons for his death.
We have to look at the moments that the prisoners have made in time for it; we can find something that opens the way for us to clarify this problem.
2.10.1982 Enver Zeneli
THE DOCUMENT WITH THE LETTER OF FEÇOR SHEHUT, DIRECTED FOR THE RELEASE OF PULUMBA AFTER THE DEATH OF HALIM XHELOS IN 1975, WITH INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE TWO INVESTIGATORS, NEVZAT HAZNEDARI AND KRISTOFOR MARTIRO, TO BE QUESTIONED AT THE INVESTIGATOR BEQIR BALLUKU, AS HALIM WAS HIS CLOSE ASSOCIATE
- Halim Xhelo was in Beqir Balluk’s group, not now, but also when he was the head of the Army Security, so it is a deeply hostile work of his whole life, he killed himself to escape the depositions.
- Let’s pass his depositions to comrades Nevzat and Kritofor, (or himself), they should ask Beqiri, etc. Tell me every time it comes out.
- To follow and verify:
- a) The problem of Halim Ramohito, Veli Frashëri, and Dilaver Radësh, in the processing and questioning should be stopped… let’s isolate Veli and Dilaver.
- b) Let’s intensify the processing of Elami Hado, let’s see that every time it comes out, and tell me.
- c) From the enemy elements, what comes out in Burrel? Let’s make information for friends.
- d) Pandeli Varezi, where is he, what was given to the investigator? He is asked more than, what comes out in his direction. This one is isolated and the new one is questioned.
28.6.197 Tell me Feçor
THE DOCUMENT DRAFTED BY THE ARCHIVES OFFICER OF THE MINISTRY OF INTERIOR AFFAIRS, ADDRESSED TO HIS SUPERIORS, ON THE STUDY OF THE FILE OF FORMER GENERAL HALIM XHELO, WHICH WAS TAKEN INTO PROTECTION BY KADRI HAZBIU
From the study I made of the file of Halim Xhelos, former general, deputy director of the State Security, and head of the Security Branch of the Army, who was arrested for agitation and propaganda in 1966, the true figure and character emerges of this “general”, whom Kadri Hazbiu supported, until he gave him very important positions in the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Also, through the letters of Axhem Xhelilaj and Sali Petroshat, as well as the relationship we have reproduced, with their concern, to inform about the hostile attitudes and actions of Halim Xhelos, who, with a preoccupation to maintain the Party’s line, they write to Kadri Hazbiu and demand that measures be taken against him.
But, instead of measures being taken and demobilization (minimum), the fugitive’s son, with a hostile family, friendly and social circle, is promoted to major general.
Surprisingly, in the characteristics of Halim Xhelos, compiled by Kadri Hazbiu and others, these problems that arise for him are reduced to cases of a “soft, in the fight against the enemy” attitude, to “opportunistic attitudes and arrogance”, and not with their real name.
Also, it is a lie when it is said that he has severed all relations with his family. In his file, there is also the letter when Halim Xhelua gives his approval for his sister’s marriage to the son of the “enemy number one of the Party and Power”, as written by his fellow villagers, who know him intimately.
I am of the opinion that, among many pieces of evidence, these letters and relations are another piece of evidence, which show how Kadri Hazbiu has protected declassified elements, raising them to high responsibilities, just as he did in protection and Feçor Shehu with friends. Memorie.al
Tirana, on 30.11.1982
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