By Leonora Laçi
The third part
– The rare file of the trial of 10 priests; how 4 of them were shot and the first sentence of Father Zef Pllumi, the last words before the execution-
Memorie.al For the first time, the complete court file of one of the most sensational processes of the communist dictatorship, that of Monsignor Frano Gjin, is published. This process sentenced Monsignor Gjini and 3 other priests to death and 6 others to imprisonment and forced labor. The youngest among them, Father Zef Pllumi, received the first sentence in 1948, in this judicial process, sentencing him to 3 years of imprisonment and forced labor. The full minutes are taken from the court file of Mons. Frano Gjinit, found in the Archives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The documents are described as they are in their original version in the relevant files.
Continues from last issue
In the name of the Albanian people
The Council of the Military Court of the Military Zone of Shkodra, formed by:
Chairman First Captain Misto Bllaca
Antar N/Lieutenant Anastas Koroveshi
Antar N/Toger Xhemal Beitja
Being the Prosecutor, Captain Namik Qemali and the Secretary of the Court, Shaban Qamil Dautaj.
In a public audience, dated January 8, 1948, he gave the following:
In the criminal case, registered under NO. 17 of the Basic Law, for the year 1948, against:
Monsignor, Frano Pjetër Gjini, son of Pjetir and Drana, 62 years old, Albanian, unmarried, unconvicted, poor, graduated from Theology, profession Ipeshkv, born and resident in Shkodër, dated 15/XI / 1946.
Dom, Nikoll Zef Deda, son of Zefi and Age, 58 years old, unmarried, not convicted, poor, graduated from Theology, parish priest, has a brother in prison and a brother who was executed, born in Shkodër and living in Haimel, aligned with the date 13/X/1946.
Father Mati Prendushi, son of Kola and Prendashi, 66 years old, unmarried, unconvicted, poor Albanian, priest, graduated from Theology in Austria, in prison is his grandson, Paolin Prendushi, born and resident in Shkodër, aligned with the date 15/XI/1946.
Dom Tom Laca, son of Paloka and Drana, 51 years old, unmarried, not convicted, medium economic situation, graduated from Theology in Rome, priest by profession, has sister’s son Zef Palin, from Shkodra, in prison. dated 14/X/1946.
Zef Kol Haxhija, son of Kola and Gjysta, 58 years old, married with 8 children, poor, graduated from the Commercial Technical School, then went on to the Military High School, Turkish, from Shkodra, unaffected by the reform, former MP, dated 20/XI/1948.
Dom Ndoc Sahatçija, son of Rrok and Nushe, 41 years old, unmarried, not convicted, poor, graduated from Theology, profession Ipeshkv, born in Breg te Mata, dated 26/6/1947.
Father Gjon Karma, son of Frano and Dila, 52 years old, graduated from Theology in Austria and Rome, unmarried, not convicted, Albanian, parish priest, born in Gur i Zi, dated 10/XI/1946.
Dom Nikoll Shelqeti, son of Hiles and Diles, 55 years old, unmarried, not convicted, poor, graduated in theology and philosophy in Austria, priest and parish priest by profession, born in Shelqet, dated 20/XII /46.
Father Mhill Miraj, son of Pjetri and Prenda, 39 years old, unmarried Albanian, innocent, poor, graduated from Theology in Rome, former professor and deputy parish priest, from Shkodra, dated 20/X/1946.
Zef Gjeto Pllumbi, son of Gjeto and Luke, 22 years old, unmarried, unconvicted, born in Boga te Kopliku and resident in Mal te Renci, by profession a carpenter, completed the third Theological course, executed Mark Mirin, Zef Mirin, and arrested, uncle’s son, poor, lined up on 15/X/1946.
Accused by the indictment of the Military Prosecutor’s Office, No. 2, dated 2/1/948, for having worked for the arrival of fascism and the occupation of our country by Italian imperialism. Since before the occupation, they have been political and espionage agents of Italian Imperialism. During the occupation, they worked for the fascistization of the country. They worked to legalize the enemy occupation.
Through the agitation of fascist propaganda, they have tried to extinguish the patriotic and national feelings of the people. They were serious obstacles to the National Liberation War and worked to eliminate this Movement. They helped and cooperated with all the criminal organizations during the occupations.
They supported and helped all the Quisling Governments during the occupation, as well as their renegade policy. They have practiced all possible means and all kinds of methods to extinguish or prevent the people’s resistance to the end. During the German occupation, they became agents of the Gestapo, denouncing the militants of the National Liberation War in its secret offices.
They helped the Wards and enemy formations and bashibuzuke, when they went between the provinces, to fight the partisans. After the liberation of Albania, terrified by the power in the hands of the people, he attacked the people and the government with ferocity and rage. In order to hit the Government more forcefully, they begin their organization, I mentioned the Catholic Clergy, under the leadership of Monsignor Gjin, Dom Nikoll Deda, Father Mati Prendushit, Monsignor Volaj and other clerical leaders.
They start their organization by transforming the entire Catholic Clergy into a fascist organization, called; Christian Democrats. They elect the Central Committee, with the aforementioned elements, such as; Monsignor Gjinin, Volaj, Dom Nikoll Dedën, Father Mati Prendushin, others as well as civilians, Zef Haxhin with a friend.
With the decisions of the Central Committee, they have specified the formation of Committees and N/Committees of this Organization, among different parishes, among provinces. The connection with fugitives inside and outside the State, as well as with any terrorist organization within the State. Connection with foreign Imperialists and with any enemy of our country. Coordination of the fight against the Power, with every opponent of the power.
The defendants have implemented all these decisions, connecting with the fugitives, sending memos to foreign imperialists. They formed the Joint Committee of the terrorist organization for Shkodra, being represented in this organization by Dom Nikoll Deda. They have developed extensive propaganda, for the formation of the uprising against the Government, (characteristic), the attempt of September 9, 1946.
Of the defendants, Zef Haxhia, was a member of the Democratic Central Committee, betrayed the people’s trust, as a representative in the People’s Assembly, by connecting with the fascist and professional terrorist organizations, which were for the violent overthrow of the People’s Power. These are faults, which are foreseen by article 2 and 3 of point 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 14, of Law 372.
In the proceeding, the side of the defendants developed.
The Military Prosecutor requested that the defendants; to be considered guilty, as according to articles 2 and 3, point 1, 2, 7, 8, 14 of Law 372 and based on article 4, of this law, he requested the punishment of the defendants, as follows:
For Monsignor Frano Gjini, Dom Nikoll Deda, Father Mati Prendushi and Dom Tom Laca, with DEATH.
For Father Gjon Karma, with 20 years of deprivation of liberty, forced labor. For Ndoc Sahatçi, with 15 years of deprivation of liberty, forced labor.
For Father Mehill Miraj, with 10 years of deprivation of liberty and forced labor. For Zef Haxhi and Dom Nikoll Shelqeti, with 5 years of deprivation of liberty and forced labor. For Zef Plumi, with 3 years of deprivation of liberty and forced labor.
After listening to the last word of the defendants.
The court, after examining the acts and discussing the case, finds that: As was proven during the trial, the Catholic clergy in Albania, and especially these defendants, have all been enemies of the people, who have oppressed them continuously in every regime, in every time, protecting these at the expense of the people, with a comfortable lifestyle, while the people suffered the black olives and especially the Catholic element, in the Northern part of Albania and especially the Highlands.
The clerical defendants have been like that, that at any time and in any regime, they brought out their own people to cooperate with them, while the rest worked with the people, ostensibly for religious work, but in reality, they deceived the people with their veladon, leaving them all backward and ignorant, in every sector, and for this so vile deed, the defendants are directly responsible.
The Catholic clergy, since the time of Turkey, has tried to divide the Albanian people and has thrown one religion at war with the other. At the time of the Austro-Hungarians, they were closely connected, with them, their tools, worked for the Austro-Hungarian imperialism, to stay in our country, not as an occupier, which they really were, but as the liberators, from the civilians, were well subsidized.
After the destruction of the Austro-Hungarian imperialism, the Clergy was probably left without a patron and there was a great need for this, because without him there would be no subsidies. For this, it was immediately connected with Italian imperialism, without delay, on the other hand, their agents, i.e., clergymen other than these, simultaneously maintained connections with other bosses, such as with the Yugoslav imperialists, with the Zog regime and others who did, were also subsidized by these.
The reactionary clergy in Albania, especially the defendants, immediately after the connection with the Italian imperialists, are at his service. In Albania, since time immemorial, there were the agents of Fascist Italy, such as Meloni, Jacomoni and others, with whom Kleri maintained constant relations and received subsidies, in addition to the relations he had with the Vatican.
Monsignor Volaj and Father Rrok Gurashi, from the weapons found, from the public opinion and from the whole continuation of the treason, since many years ago, being the head of treason at any time, and in any regime, has been the main cause , for all meanness, reactionary Catholic Clergy, treason and deeds that have harmed the interests of the people and their Government, both during the National-Liberation War and after the Liberation, when the people set to work for the reconstruction of the new Albania, to provided himself with a better, happier, and more prosperous life.
As such, very harmful and dangerous for the people of the Government, they are considered criminal offenses provided by articles 2 and 3 of points 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14 and article 4, yes of this law, the court, after looking at the past, the future and the danger they present to society, with joint votes, unanimously, contrary to the request of the Prosecutor, decided their punishment as follows:
For the defendants: Monsignor Frano Gjini, Father Mati Prendushi, and Dom Nikoll Deda from Shkodra, with Death and the loss of political and civil rights, forever, and with the confiscation of property, movable and immovable.
For the defendant: Dom, Tom Lacën from Shkodra, with deprivation of liberty and forced labor for life, and with the loss of political and civil rights, forever and with the confiscation of property, movable and immovable.
For the defendants: Father Gjon Karma, and Dom Ndoc Sahatçin with 15 years of deprivation of liberty and forced labor, and with the loss of political and civil rights, for 5 years, and with the confiscation of property, movable and immovable.
For the defendant: Father Mhill Miraj, with 7 years of deprivation of liberty and forced labor, and with the loss of political and civil rights, for 5 years, and with the confiscation of movable and immovable property.
For the defendant Zef Haxhin, from Shkodra, with 5 years of deprivation of liberty and forced labor.
For the defendants: Dom Nikoll Shelqeti and Zef Gjeto Plumbi, from 3 years of deprivation of liberty and forced labor. The convicts are charged 162 lek, court costs.
This decision is referred to the Supreme Military Court for approval, as far as those sentenced to death are concerned, while for the others, an appeal can be made to the Supreme Military Court within eight days from 8/I/1948. which was announced as a decision./Memorie.al
Shkodër, on 8/I/1948.