Albania: Ex-minister under house arrest during drug probe

The office of Albania's top prosecutor says a former interior minister has been put under house arrest while being investigated for alleged involvement in a drug trafficking ring.

Prosecutors had asked for Saimir Tahiri to be kept in custody, but Denion Ndrenika, spokesman for the Prosecutor General's Office, said Saturday that a court decided to place him under house arrest.

Tahiri was interior minister during 2013-2017 in Albania's Socialist government and resigned as a lawmaker a week ago. He is accused of links to a criminal group suspected of trafficking large amounts of cannabis. Some of the trafficking network's leaders were arrested in Italy and Albania.

Tahiri has strongly denied connections to the group.

Prime Minister Edi Rama said he respects the court's decision and called for "an independent, transparent process."