Memorie.al publishes secret documents extracted from the Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tirana, which sheds light on the efforts of the Albanian communist government in 1952-’53, to enable the extradition of Abaz Kupi from France. The full letter of official Tirana signed by the then Deputy Foreign Minister, Mihal Prifti and the accusations leveled against the former head of the Albanian Legalists, who at that time lived as a political asylum seeker in France. As well as the report on Behar Shtylla regarding the famous French lawyer, Zhuvenel and the two witnesses who had to be sent from Tirana to testify against the head of the Albanian Legalists in exile…
“Through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice, let us make every effort and appropriate demarche to the French government, so that it can hand over the war criminal, Abaz Kupin, to us as soon as possible.” This was stated, among other things, at the end of his speech at one of the meetings of the Politburo in January 1952, the Prime Minister of the Albanian government and at the same time the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the ALP, Enver Hoxha, who The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mihal Prifti, immediately gave a final message, concluding the report “On the activity of Albanian reactionary emigration in different countries of the world”, which was the main item on the agenda of that meeting. What were the steps taken by the Albanian government of that time, for the extradition of Abaz Kupi from France to Albania and what diplomatic moves did she make to implement that decision of the Politburo? All this is mentioned in a large number of archival documents bearing the logo “Top Secret”, which belong to the period 1952-1953, a time when the first efforts of the Albanian government to make possible the extradition of the leader of the Legality Movement, Abaz Kupi, from France to Albania. These documents, some of which we are publishing in this article, have been stored for almost half a century in the secret funds of the General Directorate of Archives of the Albanian State.
The first request, for the extradition of her political opponents or those who were called “War Criminals”, was made by the communist government of Enver Hoxha since the end of the war, at the end of 1944 when she came to power. At the beginning of the long list of more than 300 names, which official Tirana sent at that time to some Western countries where Albanian political emigrants, who had fled the country, were sheltered, the name of King Ahmet Zogu appeared and after him, the second in the list, coming Abaz Kupi. Although the governments of various Western countries never responded positively to the Tirana government, and did not extradite any of those on that long list, that request remained in place for years. Given the negative responses that came to her about that problem, and seeing as impossible her request for the bringing to Albania of all the persons listed on that list, in the early 1950s, the communist government of Tirana changed tactics and thought to look for him with protest notes only for a few special persons, starting it with Abaz Kupin.
Official Tirana hires lawyer Zhuvenel
Following the firm order of Enver Hoxha and the decision of the Politburo of January 1952, that the Albanian government make all necessary efforts to enable the extradition of Abaz Kupi from France to Albania, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs started the procedures the first for the implementation of that decision. As can be seen from the archival documents, before the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tirana started its procedures for the extradition of Abaz Kupi from France to Albania, it initially tested the pulse of the French government, seeing how it would react to that problem. Thus, through the people of the Albanian intelligence services (State Security), who acted camouflaged under the guise of diplomats in our representations accredited mainly in Rome and Paris, the Albanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, contacted the French lawyer Zhuvenel, who published in the newspaper “Humanite” (organ of the French Communist Party) a number of articles against the main exponents of the Albanian political diaspora in the West, calling them war criminals. But after these articles that marked the first step of official Tirana’s efforts on the issue of extradition of Abaz Kupi, events did not flow as the Albanian government had thought, as other problems arose.
After the articles of the French lawyer Zhuvenel, the head of the Albanian legalists in the West, Abaz Kupi, who was also one of the most anathematized people in the articles of the newspaper “Humanite”, was extremely indignant. To the accusations made against him, he did not stand idly by, but hired another French lawyer and sued Zhuvenel for defamation, throwing him in court. After that, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tirana, through the Deputy Minister Mihal Prifti (at that time the Minister of Foreign Affairs was Enver Hoxha himself), through several telegrams asked the Albanian legation in Paris, to keep him constantly informed about the problem that had arisen and inform him of the time when the trial against the French lawyer Juvenel would begin. Also, in those telegrams, Mihal Prifti informed Ambassador Behar Shtylla that the Albanian government had decided to send to Paris two witnesses, Riza Sulon and Xhavit Qesen (Xhavit Qesja, a senior official of the Central Committee of the ALP at the time, was also related to Kupin), to testify against Abaz Kupit and to defend the French lawyer Zhuvenel.
This is also confirmed in one of the telegrams of the Albanian ambassador of that time accredited in Paris, Behar Shtylla (at that time he was called the Plenipotentiary Minister), sent to the address of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tirana. The telegram, dated January 14, 1952, states, among other things: “I spoke with Nordman. The trial will begin on February 4, unless the opponents request it that day, the trial may decide to postpone. According to him, the Americans are not interested in this trial, and we have no profit to be made. I think that Xhavit Qesja is enough, but even if both of them come, it is good. Friendly countries send chess. I think Xhavit himself will come. We intervened for visas in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The case of Arif Sulo has been going on for days, the French legation is there, he has announced to give the visa “. Behari.
Orders for Behar Pillar
Following the announcements of the Albanian legation of Paris, for the start of the trial against the French lawyer Zhuvenel, official Tirana was not satisfied only with the idea of sending Xhavit Qeses to Paris, who would testify in the trial against Abaz Kupi. But, in order to come to the aid of the French lawyer, the Albanian government thought of using that trial and to publicly declare its decision to request the extradition of Kupi from France. This is best seen and confirmed by a telegram from Deputy Minister Prifti, sent to Ambassador Behar Shtylla in Paris. In that telegram, where at the beginning it says “Top Secret. To be written only by hand and in clear writing “, the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote:” Consult with Juvenel’s lawyers and his friends and let us know urgently if they see an opportunity to ask the French Government to hand over of Abaz Kupi as a war criminal, since he has declared his stay in France. According to the information that this Ministry has, he stays most of the time, in Italy where he carries out his activity. Let us know if you are currently in France or elsewhere as the trial approaches. Stop. Mihal. “(Firm)
Following the request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tirana, which asked its ambassador in Paris, Behar Shtylla, to talk to Zhuvenel’s lawyers, if the Albanian government could request the extradition of the Cup to the French government, Ambassador Shtylla immediately responded to the chiefs of in Tirana, giving detailed explanations of what was required of him. In his telegram, dated January 19, 1952, it is written, among other things: “Yesterday I had a lawyer” Zhuvelin “and Manjen for tea. We talked about the process. Yesterday, “Norman” was informed by Abaz Kupi’s lawyer that Abaz Kupi will not appear in court, allegedly because they do not know where he is now. Abaz Kupi’s withdrawal is either a maneuver or because they know it is the most compromised and weak element of the accusation. A Romanian has previously been removed. We thought: To continue the preparations as if he were to appear, if the material and documents we have against him are not presented to be used to hit others, thirdly the lawyers to find the legal basis for Zhuveneli to sue Abaz Kupi on defamatory charges thus attempting to turn the trial against the charge on the first day. We think a shah (witness) will come anyway. We intervened for the visa even today, but they did not give a correct answer. The campaign at “Humanite” started today. From 21 to 24 January, the leaders of Eastern European war criminals gather in London. It will be attended by some right-wing socialists, Spaak R. Ramadjer, etc., Paul Rainot, etc. It seems there will be assigned among others and the stand and the shahs accuse the Juvenel process. A few days ago, the newspaper “Le ‘Mond” wrote three long articles on the emigration of Eastern Europe to the West, for the Albanians it wrote only three lines. These articles launched the reaction campaign for the process. Notify Rome to send us the report on Abaz Kupin. We will inform you about everything new “.
The note of protest of the Albanian government for the extradition of Abaz Kupi from France
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of Albania, by order of its Government, has the honor to notify the French Legation in Tirana with a request to transmit to its Government the following: From the information that the Government of The People’s Republic of Albania turns out that the war criminal and enemy of the Albanian people, Abaz Kupi, is located in France and lives in Paris at address 11, Rue Massaset XVI. The war criminal and enemy of the Albanian people, Abaz Kupi, was a close collaborator of the German occupier and the quisling governments that existed in Albania during the fascist and Nazi occupation. He was the initiator and main organizer of the traitorous organization Legality. In cooperation with the army of the German occupier and the quisling governments, as well as in cooperation with the mercenary forces of the treacherous organization “Balli Kombëtar”, Abaz Kupi has actively fought against the National Liberation Army and the Albanian people. He is especially responsible for all the destruction and robberies, for the killings of patriots and the population in the provinces of central Albania such as Kruja, Mat, Peshkopi, in the districts of Tirana, in Preza, Tujan, Shëngjergj, Selbë, Shën-Pal and elsewhere. Abaz Kupi was the inspirer of the sad and unprecedented massacres of February 4, 1944 in Tirana. The criminal and anti-popular activity of this war criminal and enemy of the Albanian people, his cooperation with the fascist occupiers and quisling governments as well as all the accusations against him are publicly known and fully and indisputably proven. To escape the just punishment of the Albanian people for the serious crimes he committed during the occupation against him, on the eve of the liberation of Albania, Abaz Kupi, with the help of the Anglo-Americans, went to Italy and from there to France where today he has his residence and from where he continues his hostile activity against the People’s Republic of Albania and the Albanian people. The Central Commission of Albania for war crimes as well as the Government of the People’s Republic of Albania, based on the Moscow declaration of the three great powers published in October 1943 as well as on the subsequent decisions taken by the allied powers on surrender of war criminals have requested from the Central War Crimes Commission in London, as well as from the Governments of the United States of America, Great Britain and Italy, the surrender of criminals of Albanian or foreign nationality who committed crimes during the war and have collaborated with fascist and Nazi aggressors at the expense of the Albanian people. In all these requests, the name of the war criminal and enemy of the Albanian people, Abaz Kupi, appears at the top of the list of criminals wanted to surrender. The Government of the People’s Republic of Albania informing the French Government of the above-mentioned hostile and criminal activity of Abaz Kupi, relying on the Moscow declaration of 1943 of the three great powers on the surrender of war criminals and in the subsequent decisions of the Allied Powers on this issue, convinced that it operates in the spirit of the Charter of the United Nations and in the common interest of peoples and peace, and given that Abaz Kupi is currently residing in France from where he continues his hostile activity against the People’s Republic of Albania and the Albanian people. Urges the French Government to proceed as soon as possible in handing over this war criminal and enemy of the Albanian people, the Government of the People’s Republic of Albania. The Government of the People’s Republic of Albania wishes the French Government to have as soon as possible an answer to what is required in this note. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of Albania on this occasion expresses to the French Legation in Tirana, the assurances of its highest consideration./Memorie.al