The story of a child called Kristo Muci, who was abandoned by his parents, and was stealing for a living. The Justice institutions accept the conditions which have driven the 18 year old to steal at a young age, but they don’t address him to the Social Services. Cumani: The court should have declared him abandoned; the government has failed to protect orphans.
By Sonila Mesareja
He has begun to commit burglary for a living before turning 18-years old and due to his minor age, he has achieved to escape the penalties. Kristo Muci is well known to the capital city’ police and prosecution, since, he has been caught several times for committing thefts. The Tirana Police’ announcement shows that one the four arrests for theft was made by Kristo Muci. However, the detentions without any penalties are over for Muci, who was abandoned by his parents at young age and was left adrift and living the life of a vagrant on the streets of the capital. Today, his case is well known also to the court which handed to him the first sentence for theft as he reached the major age of 18 year old, which he had always thought of as distant.
At the age of 18 years old, Kristo was sentenced to 8 months imprisonment, a security measure, which, was suspended by punishing him on condition in order to not be sent in jail at the first arrest. However, not long after he received his first sentence and when he was under probation monitoring, he committed other three proven thefts of bicycles or other items which he sold very cheap. Once more, Kristo Muci goes to the court as an accomplice to theft. The court sentences him to 4 months imprisonment due to his age, guilty plea and the justification given to the court:”I did it out of poverty”.
Facsimile of the penalty decision for the vagrant Kristo Muci
The court in its latest decision, argues the decision reached for Kristo Muci case as following: After having analyzed the psychological evaluation, which assessed the social, family and personal circumstances of the defendant Kristo Muci, it was concluded that the defendant was motivated by the difficult economic conditions and the need to ensure basic living conditions. The minor has not entirely gained the ability to understand the importance of his actions and to assess the associated consequences. The minor appears remorseful and expresses a tendency to evaluate the possible alternative actions and their mutual consequences”.
For the case of Kristo Muci a similar attitude with the court shares also one of the prosecutors who deal mostly with minor’s thefts cases. According to the prosecutor Përparim Hasa, Kristo expresses remorse for the action committed, whenever caught, by justifying himself with the excuses of hard life and poor economic resources.”Mr. Prosecutor I won’t repeat it again. I regret. You will not see me here again, but my economic conditions have forced me”,-he used to tell me whenever he was detained”, states prosecutor Hasa.
The prosecutor says that Kristo was aware that he could not be arrested till the moment he would turn the age 18 years old.”Despite his remorse and promises given, the life that he lives enforces him to take such actions. He steals for a living and is punished for stealing this is all”, states for Kristo Muci the prosecutor of the minor’s section.
Also, we contacted Ilir Cumani, the executive director of the National Institute for Integration of Albanian Orphans for Kristo Muci’s case. When he was asked what could be done with such a case or with other minors who have had the same fortune like him, he says “Kristo Muci is a vagrant child, who after his parent’s abandonment should have been declared from the court as an abandoned child and benefitting by the status of an orphan child. This is the case if he does not have any contact with his parents and does not know them” states Cumani.
According to Cumani, in this case the responsible structures of the State social services should have intervened since the moment of abandonment, since Muci was declared a child left with no home. Then he should have been rehabilitated to a state residential center, where such children, who lack parental care, are treated with food, clothes, education and many other services.”Kristo Muci and the other minors found in the same situation and abandoned should be identified as such and immediately intervened by the structures of social service from the local authorities respectively from the municipality of Tirana or the regional social service offices. This child, like many other children who are out of the government control (of the above structures) have not been lucky to secure state protection and assistance and therefore, responsible for this case are exactly those structures that do not function properly, bringing as a result the victimization of these cases which become contingent of street crime and prostitution exploitation”, said Ilir Cumani for investigim.al.
The head of the Institution for Orphan Children’s Integration, Ilir Cunami
The structure, which first came in contact with Kristo Muci at the moment of his arrest, has been the police, which, is obliged to provide a shelter to a minor in these residential centers that, are recommended by Ilir Cunami. We contacted the State Police to learn how these structures handle the cases of juvenile under the age of 14 years old and 18 years old, and in both cases without a family, who have been caught committing offenses. “The police provides shelter in residential centers and psychological assistance to these children, while, we do not know how the progress of these children in these centers is followed,” says Laura Totraku, State Police spokeswoman.
The same answer has been given also from Taulant Kondi the former head of Theft Section in Tirana’s Police, when asked what measures are taken by the police for minors caught stealing. Kondi says that they contact immediately social centers who assist minors and provide psychologists, shelter and food. However, according to Kondi, unfortunately these children as soon as they leave the center return to the road. In fact, Kristo Muci was not send in these centers by the police and the court, which gave to him an opportunity through not sending him to the prison in the first sentence. While he was supposed to not commit any criminal offense, Muci stole again, not once but several times and was re-arrested by the police. But throughout this odyssey yet is not known which will be the destiny of this orphan with living parents and with a vagrant status after being abandoned by them.
Although, Kristo is currently 18 years old and is no longer considered as a minor, Cumani says that he should be supported by the Social Services structures because of the situation he is right now. “This is a specific case and I think that this young man should be supported by the State Social Service, a subordinate institution of the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth and also by the Social Service department of the Municipality Unit which provides services to its jurisdiction, in “IrfanTomini” street. Certainly, this young man cannot be considered as part of the police problematic contingents, for it is known that he has been a traumatized, excluded and abused child since childhood, something which assigns guilt only to the state” claims Cumani.
The head of the institution for the integration of orphan children, Ilir Çumani does not only point his finger to the culprits, but also offers himself to help in this case, which was identified by investigim.al, which, for a long time has been known to the police, prosecution and the court in Tirana. “In this case, I will be available to get to know the orphan young man, and look for opportunities to accommodate him in a rehabilitation polyvalent center. There are two or three centers of this kind in Tirana. Certainly, he needs services of a multidisciplinary team, to assist him in the psychological situation he is and treat other problems he might have. In this concrete case, since, early childhood when he was abandoned, he should have been in the attention of the children services and protection institutions and should have been accommodated at the children’ house. This did not happen and the reasons are known, as I mentioned above. The system of child protection and treatment for children left alone has not functioned as it should, and this child is considered as the victim of the responsible state structures” emphasizes further Cumani.
Cumani considers Kristo’s court’s sentence for committing a theft offense, as the state’s inability to protect children in need. “He is not guilty for the punishment he received, I think he is punished according to the Penal Code for the act under the conditions he was caught, while, all these should be understood as a moral punishment to the state which is not able to protect and help children and people in need”
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