Two Albania MPs arrested over murder plot claims

Police arrested on Thursday two Albanian lawmakers charged with false statements for alleging that the parliament speaker was plotting the murder of one of them.

Police acted upon an arrest warrant issued for the two deputies -- Tom Doshi and Mark Frroku, a police spokesman said.

The arrest came soon after the parliament lifted their immunity after a probe concluded that their allegations against speaker Ilir Meta were false.

"There is no concrete and reliable evidence of a possible planning of a murder attempt, and the investigation revealed that Doshi and Frroku had invented the story," the prosecutors said in a statement.

Doshi was expelled from the ruling Socialist Party after accusing Meta of plotting to kill him and an opposition MP. The latter was Mhill Fufi of the opposition Democratic Party.

Frroku, who is from a small Christian Democratic party which is in alliance with the Socialists, had allegedly told Doshi about the plot.

The two lawmakers were charged with "false testimony and statements and threats." If found guilty they face up to five years in jail.

Several top officials were questioned during the probe, including Prime Minister Edi Rama, Interior Minister Saimir Tahiri and Meta himself.

Last week, several thousand Albanian opposition supporters rallied in Tirana calling on the speaker to resign.

But Meta firmly rejected the allegations, labelling them "pure slander" by political rivals whose aim was to "destabilise the country."

Albania is a candidate for European Union membership. However, Brussels says Tirana must do more to fight organised crime and reform the judiciary.

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