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The Republic of Albania is a parliamentary democracy with a population of approximately three million.The constitution vests legislative authority in the unicameral Assembly (parliament), which elects both the prime minister and the president.
The killings of two political figures--Socialist Party Member of Parliament Fatmir Xhindi and a Christian Democrat leader, Alex Keka--were under investigation and remained unresolved at year's end.Prison and Detention Center Conditions The Ministry of Justice operated all detention facilities, while the Ministry of Interior oversaw police detention facilities.Prison conditions varied widely between prison facilities dating from the communist period and those opened after 1991.During the year there were continuing reports of societal killings, including both generational "blood feud" and revenge killings. According to the Interior Ministry, there were five blood feud-related killings during the year.However, NGOs reported 55 blood feud-related killings during the year.The prime minister heads the government, while the president has limited executive power.
In June 2009 the country held parliamentary elections, which the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) described as marking progress over past elections, but not fully realizing OSCE commitments. There were reports that police severely beat and mistreated suspects during interrogation and detention.
The AHC reported that conditions and treatment while in police custody are more problematic than in the prison system.
According to the AHRG, police more often mistreated suspects at the time of arrest or initial detention.
The December 12 COE report on inhuman treatment of persons and illicit trafficking in human organs (see section 1.a.) alleged that, in 1998 to June 1999, the KLA with the cooperation of SHIK, detained "prisoners of war" from Kosovo at locations it Durres, Cahan, and Kukes, where they were held in makeshift cellblocks, left in insanitary conditions without food and water, and were visited periodically by KLA soldiers to be questioned under harsh treatment, or indiscriminately beaten.
The Albanian Helsinki Committee (AHC) and the Albanian Human Rights Group (AHRG) reported that police sometimes used excessive force or inhuman treatment.
In the facilities dating from the communist period, concerns existed about adequate provisions for sanitation, ventilation, lighting, health care, and access to potable water.