Eighty Albanian killers 'have settled in Britain'
Eighty convicted murderers have set up home in Britain after fleeing Albania, it has been claimed.
By Matthew Moore
Last Updated: 11:37AM GMT 24 Jan 2009
Many of the killers have allegedly exploited the asylum system to gain UK citizenship after being smuggled into the country by traffickers.
The Albanian chief of police last night complained that British courts were hampering his country's efforts to have the criminals extradited.
“We have made a list of our people who are hiding in the UK. There are 100 criminals, and more than 80 per cent are wanted for murder and have been convicted in absentia,” Ahmet Prenci said.
“They have been given British citizenship despite our efforts to extradite them to serve prison sentences in our country.”
The Home Office has been alerted to the identities and backgrounds of the men, many of whom claim to be refugees from the conflict in Kosovo who would face human rights abuses if returned. But it is understood that problems finding translators and psychologists have delayed legal proceedings.
“We are unhappy that the courts repeatedly refuse extradition of these criminals. There is no reason for an Albanian citizen who has been involved in a crime not to be punished,” Mr Prenci said.
Campaign groups said the news was evidence of failings in the British asylum system. Sir Andrew Green, of MigrationWatch, said: “It is a real concern that people accused of, or even convicted of, very serious crimes should apparently find it so easy to gain asylum in Britain.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: Investigations by British law enforcement agencies show that only a fraction of criminals thought by the Albanian authorities to be here are actually in the UK. Those that remain are already on watch lists and the Police National Computer and in some cases are subject to extradition court hearings.
What happened ten years ago cant happen now. Were undergoing the biggest shake up of our border security for a generation, making it tougher than ever to get into Britain illegally. Now, every visa applicant is fingerprinted, and those biometric details checked against our databases before they even step on a plane
We will not tolerate abuse of our immigration system. If someone has obtained citizenship by deceit, for example by posing as a national of another country, the law allows us to take citizenship away and we will.