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In advance of Albania’s first contested elections under Communist rule on March 31, we took part in a fact-finding mission from March 7 to March 12 as part of the first team of independent human rights investigators to have officially visited the country. The delegation, sponsored by the Vienna-based International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, met with senior government officials, including President Ramiz Alia; toured several prison and labor camps; conducted confidential interviews with current and former prisoners convicted of both political and common crimes; spoke extensively with members of opposition political parties and other newly founded independent organizations; and investigated several recent killings by Albanian security forces.

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