By Aranita Qilimi
On July 14, 2003, in the Sciences Academy hall, Nationwide Reconciliation Committee and Albanian Anticorruption Coalition organized a meeting with community and civil society representatives “On the denunciation and isolation from society of women and children and drugs traffickers”. The entire attention was focused on the courageous story told by the 13 years old Albana Prenga and her father Zef Prenga, who had arrived from Mirditë remote area, Gurth Spaç, to denounce the traffickers and the judges who released them.
The Nationwide Reconciliation Committee Women’s Forum, besides the initiative to release the confined women and children unconditionally, has been involved in the protection of and encouragement of these victims to denounce the criminals. Albana Prenga’s act, who did not surrender to violence and threats by weapon, but she insisted to bring them to the court, shows that the courage to face the criminals represses crime. Her speech and her father’s manly attitude were greeted by the entire social opinion.
Confession of the 13 years old girl Albana Prenga
My name is Albana Prenga, and I come from the village Gurth-Spac in Mirdite. We are seven children in the family, six sisters and one brother. Unfortunately the brother is paralyzed. The conditions of the village and of my family are very difficult. Even the children are obliged to work. The school and the shop are located over half an hour away. In February this year, on the seventh, when I had just turned 13, I was experienced a very severe event I never thought it would happen to me.
That afternoon I had to go to the shop to buy some groceries.
On my way to the shop I was walking very fast as it was snowy and very cold. On my way back home I saw a man who was waiting on the road. I did not think of anything bad. I knew he was from my village and that he was married. I walked by, without talking to him, and further down on the road I saw another man, whom I did not recognize.
The person who was standing on the road started to follow me, arguing about the fact that I did not talk to him. He told me that there was no other choice but to go with him. I was very clear explaining that I had nothing to do with him, but my reply made him more angry.
His anger reached that point that he started punching me. Although I told him several times that he would pay back for what he was doing, he kept insisting that I had to obey him. He showed me a gun he kept under the coat and threatened me that he would shoot all the bullets on my body. When I had taken into consideration also my death, I managed to escape from his hands and started running towards my house. After I had managed to run 20 -30 meters away from him, he started shooting at me. I kept running without knowing what I was doing until I reached my parents.
My dad, almost shocked by this, objected the requests of our cousins to take revenge that same night, and decided to go to the police and prosecutors office. The police arrested the man who attacked me, and at the beginning it seemed that the police was doing things right. They took the proofs and the prosecutor promised us justice. Although his family came to ask us for forgiveness, my dad insisted that this man should face the law. Now they have abandoned the village and have sent people to ask for reconciliation. My dad and myself have asked that he gets punished. The prosecutor asked only for 6 years imprisonment, and the court set him free. My father asked that this person is punished according to the law and I think that the justice should punish him. Although in a difficult situation, we decided to talk in front of you in this meeting.
I want to ask the President, the Prime Minister and the High Court to support us in implementing the law. We will ask again for justice and we believe that we will find it. I want to thank my co-villagers who have supported us by condemning the act, as well as the women in the Committee who protected me and encouraged me to come here and denounce this act.
“God in the sky and the state on the earth…revenge will be taken for my daughter”
Speech of Zef Prenga
(Albana Prenga’s father)
In Mirdita there is no custom to guard women and girls. They have their own duties, they go to the mountain for wood, to the shop for groceries and in company and none thinks that they will be disturbed. In the mountain path and in the big street they are equally respected and none can touch them. Mirditë villages allow none to do this thing, which spreads shame on everyone. I came here today to be clarified about the judges, the policemen, the men clad with the official suit, why did they release the criminals calling them innocent? Was my daughter guilty who was going on her own business, to do some duty given by her family? Was my daughter guilty that this shameful criminal stops her, though he knew she was just a child, only 13? Was my daughter guilty telling him that she did not know him, and asked hi to open the way for her to go? Was my daughter guilty asking help from her family, fro justice and the state to protect her life’s dignity?
He threatened her, beet her and at last used his weapon shooting on her, when he saw that she did not give up. We have addressed to the prosecution, to the law and the state, as our custom is, as this Committee has instructed, which has protected us and has brought us up to here. The judge procrastinated the question though he had the facts. It is known why. I never thought and I do not think that this case will be close with injustice. Neither me, nor anyone will accept this. “God in the sky and the state on the earth, but revenge will be taken for my daughter” – ended him.