By Ferdinand Dervish
The third part
Memorie.al / Until the day when Xhevdet Mustafa’s group landed in Divjaka, the beach policeman, Sokrat Biti, had lived a quiet life. Even pleasant, compared to that of other peers, to whom the frog fell in the fields of the agricultural cooperative. His father, an old fisherman, had managed, because of his profession, to have strong friends, even the head of the list was himself, Kadri Hazbiu, a trusted man of power and a powerful minister at that time. For these reasons, it was easy for him to join the ranks of the police, even though he did not have the relevant higher education. So, for 25-year-old Sokrat Biti, even the black day of September 25, 1982, had started with a good outlook, like all the others. Tour the sea with a boat to monitor the beachgoers, exactly in the role of a baywatch and further at the disposal of the deputy chief of the Lushnja Police, Remzi Brixhi, who was badly bitten by the fishing worm.
Continues from last issue
“I was afraid that they would kill me, that am why I didn’t try to report.” Sokrat Biti, the policeman who was taken hostage by Xhevdet Mustafa, on September 25, 1982 in Divjaka, after the destruction of the group, the murder of two of the members and the arrest of the third, taken as a defendant for abuse of duty, felt himself to be the leader protagonist of an absurd theater, in the investigation offices of Tirana. Because according to the logic of the time, he should have fought the men armed to the teeth, even though he was unarmed, even though he was wearing a bathing suit, even though a man, a deputy chief of police, had died at his feet, shot by the group, even though he was the most dangerous of them, had him in his sights and had made it clear that death awaited him if he made the slightest sign of disobedience!
So, according to the rules that were transmitted to the people at that time, a citizen, moreover a member of the police force had to put the general interest over the personal one at all times. Thus, the policeman taken hostage by Xhevdet Mustafa’s group, according to this logic, at least when they arrived in Rrogozhina, when they found themselves among people, or even in the vicinity of a traffic policeman, should have announced the presence of the armed group, or gang, as it was epitheted at that time. An action that would certainly cost him his life. But the “poor” policeman had been so scared that in no case in his mind, either the communist ideology of the time, or adventurism, had managed to defeat the feelings that try to preserve life.
However, the investigation is doing its job, which is clearly read through the content of the documents we are publishing. The policeman Sokrat Biti, who was taken hostage by Xhevdet Mustafa, at first does not accept the accusation against him, but after a few days he changes his mind. Xhevdet Mustafa’s gang intended to go to Tirana to kill Enver Hoxha, and he, an insignificant policeman from one end of the Republic, had helped them by showing them the way to the Rrogozhina train station. It is enough for the terrorized policeman to accept and declare precisely: “…I understand that as an employee of the Internal Affairs bodies I should have fought with them, sacrificing my life as well… I admit that I acted contrary by fulfilling the duty rule, not only as a citizen, but rather as a policeman…”
Of course, the demand of that time for such a conception and further for such an attitude cannot be understood by those who did not live in the time of, or did not have the opportunity to become familiar with, the rules of communism. Since, coming to the present times, almost in the entire civilized world, a hostage is not required in any case to do heroics that could cost him his life.
In the transcript of the authentic documents that we are publishing, there are other details that are made public for the first time, such as the fact that Xhevdet Mustafa had accurate information about Enver Hoxha’s illness and others. Information that at that time was not available to almost all the people who lived within the borders of the so-called People’s Socialist Republic of Albania.
The archival document with the minutes of the interrogation of the police officer Sokrat Biti, by Dilaver Bengasi, in the investigation of Tirana
Tirana, on 1.10.1982
I, Dilaver Bengasi, interrogated Sokrat M. Biti as a defendant, born in 1957, with secondary education, police officer of DBB (Department of Internal Affairs) Lushnjë, single, not convicted, born and resident in Divjakë Lushnja.
Question: The defendant Sokrat Biti is accused of abuse of office, resulting in the killing of several people by the armed gang; the creation of its conditions, to cross to Rrogozhinë and to arrive in Tirana, to commit terrorist acts against the Party and state leadership, thus infringing the high interests of the defense of the homeland, the protection of your personal interests . Talk about the accusation.
Answer: I do not accept the accusation against me. Regarding him, I have to say: When I was with Remzi Brixhi, the deputy chief of the Lushnja Police, fishing in the Dajlan canal, while we were waiting for our friends, Sazan Guri and the police worker Engjëll Agalliu, they they were late, after they went down to the shore, and for that we also approached the shore and went down. In the depth we saw two people and one about 100 meters behind them, who were coming towards us and the first two waved to us.
We went down and when we got close to each other, one of them told us to surrender and pulled out his machine gun. Remziu put his hand in his belt to take out the pistol, but the younger one suddenly fired a silent automatic burst and Remziu fell dead to the ground. I immediately sat down on my knees, putting my hands on my head and said: “Oh, don’t kill me, because I am a working peasant”, and the younger one said: “Get in the boat and take us out of this place, in the direction of that the hotel”, was actually a labor camp.
Question: What about you, the defendant, as a policeman, why didn’t you prepare to fire a pistol against the people who killed Remzi Brixhi?
Answer: I was actually in the service of maintaining order from hostile and malicious activity on the beach of Divjaka and that was where I had my place of service. As a rule, during my duty, I should be dressed in police clothes and with a pistol in my belt, but in this particular case, since the deputy chief of police, Remziu, told me to take the boat and go to Dajlan, without telling me purpose; I agreed to go with him and the other two.
When we went to Dajlan, we went to a restaurant, where we had lunch, but we didn’t drink to drink, and later we also fished. Since I decided to go to Dajlan, I stripped myself of the military clothes I had, leaving them in my room, together with the pistol, and so, when I was in front of the people who killed Remzi, I had no pistol to use against them. . My duty was to maintain order in a military uniform and armed, but since the Deputy Chief of Police told me to go with him to Dajlan, I undressed, leaving the pistol, in order to help the boatman Sazan Zeka.
Question: Why did you agree to take those three people out of the place unknown to the criminals and show them the way?
Answer: I guessed that they were saboteurs and agreed to let them go to the place where they wanted, because the younger one told me: “I will kill you if you don’t let us pass and show us the way.” I had to get them out of there.
Question: When you took them out near the workers’ camp, how did they tell you and what actions did you, the defendant, do?
Answer: When I took them out by boat near the workers’ camp, they told me to show them the way and take them out on the highway in the directions Durrës-Tirana and Fier-Vlora. I took them out through the forest and on the way; they told me that they would kill me if I messed with them on the way. I, obliged, showed them the way to a certain place; where we sat down to change our clothes. There, that young man who always threatened to kill me, after I told him to stop a guy on a bike passed by and he didn’t stop, he grabbed him by the bike and I heard three gun shots and he killed him.
This happened at 18:00 on 25.9.1982 and on 26.9.1982, when I went with my police colleagues to show them the way to cross, I found the murdered man, Vlash Proboti. So, until 18:00, when Vlash Përboti was also killed, the criminals had killed three employees of D.P.B. (Department of Internal Affairs) Lushnjë, named Remzi Brixhi, Engjëll Agalliu and Sazan Zeka, where the last two had killed them before they killed Remzi and I understood this, because one of them was holding the Angel’s hat (military) and when they killed Remzi, they also took his hat. They had also taken Angel’s police bag with them, which I recognized as his. After killing these three, they also killed Vlash Proboti, in my presence.
Question: You, the defendant, were watching with your own eyes, that the gang of criminals on the road was continuing its terrorist goals, why didn’t you intervene and fight with them, to protect the interests of the state?
Answer: it is true that they were continuing terrorist acts along the way, but since I was being threatened with murder, I could not fight with them, because they would kill me.
Question: After they also killed Vlash Proboti, what did the defendant say to you and where did you ask to take them?
Answer: After they killed Vlashi, they told me to take them to the highway and after I took them there, they told me to take them in the direction of Rrogozhina, because they told me they were going to Tirana. On the way, the younger one told me: “Go ahead, because we have come to save the people, who are making them suffer.” He also asked me, the younger one: “How is the main leader, is he sick?” Mehmet Shehu was killed by these Leaders themselves and not as they say in the newspaper, that he killed himself, his son poisoned himself, that he could not live with what these Party members would do to him, even the son who is in prison has hanged himself”. He also asked me if I knew the environment in Tirana.
I answered that I do not know Tirana and he told me that he knows him well as my friend, referring to one of those who was killed. After we rested until dawn, we headed towards Rrogozhina, where we arrived around 06:00 – 06:30 in the morning and after sitting a little at the agency, the younger one took me to go to the train station, where they will to go by train to Tirana. According to them, they had a job there. The younger one told me, as soon as we arrived at the station, that if you are moving, you will kill and take these other innocent people by the neck, but don’t waste my bullets, because I need them for another place, to ‘used. I obeyed and did not move.
Question: You, the defendant, when you entered Rrogozhinë, said that you were surrounded by people and a service policeman. Why didn’t you, the defendant, shout out loud and inform the people and the police that the person who was accompanying you was a member of a subversive criminal gang and there were two others nearby? Why didn’t you fight with the criminal who was accompanying you, in order to put him and his friends in pursuit, without entering the Rrogozhina station, and in this way, you would have prevented those subsequent criminal consequences that came later from gang members? Was it your duty as a patriot, a citizen, and moreover as a policeman, to do such an act, in defense of the interests of the country and the Party?
Answer: I, all these questions that were put to me, I understand that I could and should do, by announcing loudly to the gang of criminals, or by fighting with him who accompanied me, for the purpose of that they might be prosecuted, and subsequent consequences prevented, but fearing it would kill me, and thinking I should find a more convenient time to signal, or act, I did no such thing. As a citizen and even more so as a policeman, I had the duty to make such a fight even now in Rrogozhinë, but I thought I would act later.
Question: After you went to the train station, who did you sit next to and why did you not fight with the saboteurs there, in order to prevent them from boarding the train and going to Tirana, where they would commit other terrorist acts, but you remained indifferent and are you leaving everything to chance?
Answer: It was true that even at the train station, I did not fight with the saboteur who accompanied me that the other two stayed away from both of us, because he always threatened to kill me. I thought that when we boarded the train, I might have a chance to alert the train police.
Question: As a result of not performing the mandatory actions for your duty as a citizen and moreover as a policeman, the gang of criminals could not be detected and captured alive, but the criminal consequences on their part, came to be increased, where the criminal Xhevdet Mustafa killed two more people and injured another, causing concern to the population of the area where he acted. If you, the defendant, had acted against him in time, some of the consequences would have been prevented, they would have been prosecuted under more suitable conditions, and the results could have been more favorable in their capture, or disposal of the criminal gang. Do you understand that you have acted contrary to the regular fulfillment of the duty, as an employee of the Internal Affairs bodies, putting your personal interest above those of the homeland?
Answer: It is true that I did not act before, but they would kill me and probably kill more people, so I did not act.
After reading the above statements, I sign them as true
Defendant Sokrat Biti (signature) Investigator Dilaver Bengasi
Sokrat Biti “I was carrying the gun bag”!
In this questionnaire, it is revealed for the first time that Xhevdet Mustafa, apart from the truth, also uttered untruths or disinformation, according to which a part of their group had gone to Vlora and from there, should go to Tirana. This detail is disclosed in another session of questions to the police officer Sokrat Biti in the investigator.
Minutes (of questioning of the defendant)
Tirana dt. 28.10.1982.
I, Dilaver Bengasi, investigator of the Tirana DPB, interrogated the defendant Sokrat Biti, who after being questioned testified:
Question: Speak to the defendant, what materials was provided to the group of people that you accompanied, from Divjaka to Rrogozhinë?
Answer: The group of people that I accompanied from Divjaka to Rrogozhin was equipped with a large military bag full of materials, which I did not see what they were, but it was heavy. Everyone was holding a machine gun. With a machine gun, one of them killed the deputy chief of police, Remzi Brixhin, in my presence, and later he killed Vlash Proboti.
As I explained, they told me that they had come from abroad and some of them had gone to Vlora and wanted to come to Tirana. To come to Tirana, they told me to show them the way, and I, fearing that they would kill me, as the younger one told me, I showed them the way to the train station in Rrogozhin, where they wanted to they boarded the train to Tirana. I, although I wanted to inform about them, but I could not because one of them kept me under control and threatened to kill me if I moved or did something. I thought that when I had the opportunity to announce, but until they were understood by the police and the people in Rrogozhin, I did not have such an opportunity.
Question: Did you, the defendant, understand that they were a subversive group and had hostile intentions against our country?
Answer: As I have explained, I understood from their own terrorist actions that they were a group of saboteurs and with hostile terrorist intentions against our country, who actually told me that they had come from abroad and were armed and were killing in my presence as an Albanian citizen, as I explained. Also, they told me that they would come to Tirana and I understood that they had hostile intentions, but I did not have the opportunity to signal, although in Rrogozhin, I could do such a thing, but I was afraid that they would kill me.
Question: Did they show you the photos of the weapons of the hostile gang, the machine guns, the cartridges found, the two hats of Engjël Agalliu and Remzi Brixhi, bags, etc.? Tell us if you saw these on the day you accompanied the gang?
Answer: I saw all of this that day, when I accompanied the gang, they took the hats of my two friends to a certain distance by themselves, carrying also the bag, which belongs to Angel Agalli, and I realized that it was they had killed Sazan Zeka, just as they killed Remzi in my eyes. The automatics are what they had in hand and before we entered Rrogozhin, they disassembled them and put them in the bag I was carrying.
After reading the minutes, I signed them with my signature.
Defendant Sokrat Biti Investigator Dilaver Bengasi
Ex-policeman Sokrat Biti: “I accept the charge”!
In this part of the questionnaire, which is likely to be the last session before the trial, the police officer Sokrat Biti admits that he did not react as a police officer or even a pious citizen to the actions of the band of saboteurs. He says that “it would have been more honest to have fought with them to create opportunities for them to be pursued even if they killed me”.
Minutes (of the questioning of the defendant)
Tirana dt. 29.10.1982
I, Dilaver Bengasi, investigator of BPB Tirana questioned the defendant Sokrat Biti, who testified:
Question: The defendant Sokrat Biti presented the corpses of Sazan Zeka, Engjëll Agalliu and Remzi Brixhi as well as Vlash Pörboti; explain to us if you know them and under what circumstances they were killed.
Answer: I know all their corpses, because I had them all as workmates, employees of D.P.B. Lushnjë and Vlashin, uncle’s daughter-in-law, have a sister. I didn’t recognize Vlaš when they killed him, but when I came the second day and showed the place to my Dega friends, I knew it was him; also when they killed Sazan Zeka and Angel Agalliu, I didn’t see them, but I understood that they had been killed, when they killed Remzi Brixhi in my eyes and they were holding the police hat and Angel’s bag in their hands.
Question: Finally, the defendant, you are accused of the crime of abuse of office, provided for by Article 106 of the Criminal Code, where as a concrete consequence, the gang of saboteurs killed several people, injured several others and the opportunities were created for them to carry out actions sharp hostile actions against our country, in the city of Tirana, where you are accompanying them to bring them. Tell me if you accept the charge?
Answer: I accept the accusation against me. It would have been more honorable for me to have fought with them and to create opportunities for them to be pursued, even if they killed me. But as I explained, I was waiting to find some suitable opportunity, as I was afraid that I would be killed and I would gain nothing. Even when they killed Remziu, in front of my eyes, I did not have a pistol, because as I said, I had left it together with the military clothes in Divjak, an action I should not have done. I understand that as an employee of the Internal Affairs bodies, I should have fought with them, sacrificing my life, and for this I understand and accept that I acted contrary to the regular fulfillment of my duty, not only as a citizen, but rather as a policeman of the D.P.B. Lushnja. Memorie.al
After reading the minutes, I signed them with my signature.
Defendant Sokrat Biti Investigator Dilaver Bengasi