Albania parliament lifts ex-minister's immunity for probe

Albania's parliament has lifted the immunity of a former interior minister suspected of being involved with a drug trafficking ring.

Lawmakers on Wednesday voted to allow prosecutors to question Saimir Tahiri and search his residence but not arrest him.

Tahiri was interior minister until March and is now a lawmaker with the governing Socialist Party.

Prosecutors have linked Tahiri with a criminal group suspected of trafficking large amounts of cannabis. Some of its leaders were recently arrested in Italy.

Tahiri has denied links to the criminal gang.

Fighting drug trafficking and organized crime is a challenge for post-communist Albania, a NATO member since 2009 that is seeking to launch full membership negotiations with the European Union.