United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
E. Rosen District Judge
CERTIFICATION OF EXTRADITION
STEVEN WHALEN United States Magistrate Judge
Selim Struga, a native of Albania, is a naturalized American
citizen. In 2001, he was tried in absentia in
Albania for the 1989 murder of Gezim Celmeta. His conviction
was reversed by the Albanian Court of Appeals, but reinstated
by the Court of Cassation (Supreme Court). Albania seeks Mr.
Struga's extradition. To that end, the government has
filed a Request for Extradition of Selim Struga, with
supporting documentation [Doc. #20]. The Court held an
extradition hearing on March 15, 2016.
hearing on March 15, 2016,  the Court admitted the following
1: Michigan Driver's License information showing Mr.
Struga's address in Royal Oak, Michigan. Transcript of
Extradition Hearing, 25-26. (Mr. Struga interjected that he
was arrested at his house in Troy, Michigan, not Royal Oak.
Tr. 26. Nevertheless, both Troy and Royal Oak are within the
Eastern District of Michigan).
2: The Declaration of Jason A. Biros, Attorney Advisor for
the United States Department of State. Mr. Biros attests that
the extradition treaty between the United States and Albania
is in full force and effect. A copy of the treaty is attached
to Mr. Biros' Declaration, and was admitted as Exhibit 3.
included with Exhibit 3 is a statement from Chancellor Rudin
Baqli of the Albanian Supreme Court indicating that the
offense of which Mr. Struga was convicted in
absentia, and for which extradition is sought, was
“‘intentional murder', provided for in
article 76 of the Criminal Code.” At the hearing, the
government represented that the Department of State had
received assurances from the Republic of Albania that Mr.
Struga would have the opportunity to challenge the in
absentia conviction and seek a new trial. (Tr. 30).
Admitted as Exhibit 4 are the original and translated
“Guarantees granted by the Albanian State in respect of
the right for retrial of the Albanian national Selim alias
Selami Struga, subject to extradition from USA to Albania
because of his trial in absentia.” Exhibit 5: Report of
the Albanian General Prosecutor's Office, dated November
7, 2011, along with photographs and a witness statement of
Fatmir Macka (originals and translations).
6: The decision of the Albanian Court of Appeals overturning
Mr. Struga's conviction, and the Albanian Supreme Court
decision reversing the Court of Appeals.
7: The Second Circuit's decision in Skaftouros v.
United States, 667 F.3d 144 (2d Cir. 2011), offered for
the principle that Courts should given deference to legal
rulings from foreign countries.
8: A current (but enlarged) photograph of Mr. Struga from his
Michigan driver's license.
9: A photograph from Mr. Struga as a younger man, contained
in the Albanian court file.
10: Mr. Struga's birth certificate. Counsel questioned
the authenticity of this document, and the Court admitted it
subject to rebuttal evidence by Mr. Struga.
11: Mr. Struga's immigration file.
admitted as Mr. Struga's Exhibit A, over the
government's objection, were a number of witness
statements, with English translations. In addition, at Mr.
Struga's request, the Court gave him six weeks to have
additional documents translated. (Tr. 51).
documents admitted at the hearing indicate as follows
concerning the facts of the underlying offense:
Report of the General Prosecutor's Office, dated November
7, 2011 (Official Translation submitted as Government Exhibit
5) summarizes the following facts taken from an examination
of the file and final decision of the District Court of
Tirana, Albania following Mr. Struga's trial in
abstentia. According to this document, the trial
testimony showed that on June 21, 1989, Mr. Struga had been
drinking in a bar. He was sitting at a table with Mehment
Nezaj and Fatmir Macka. At about 5:00 p.m., Adriatik Kokona
joined them, and later still, Bujar Rama and Gezim Celmeta
ordered something and sat at their table. A “bottle was
broken at the table” [passive voice used], and Mr.
Struga and his friends started to use offensive words. As
Rama and Celmata were leaving the bar, one of Mr.
Struga's friends had an argument with Bujar Rama. Mr.
Struga and his friends joined in, and Rama backed off. At
that point, Mr. Struga and his friends began to have an
argument with Gezim Celmeta, the homicide victim,
“putting him in the middle.” The Prosecutor's
Report describes the ensuing events as follows:
“At that time, [Mr. Struga] approached him [Celmeta],
who, through a sharp pointed piercing instrument, hit Gezim
Celmeta on the back area. Having seen that [Mr. Struga] held
in one hand a knife, thinking that a criminal offence, a
fight or jabbing could happen because the involved persons
were not in a good state as they had been drinking, in order
to be of any help to the citizen Gezim Celmeta, Bujar Rama
grabbed at the counter desk the wooden ice cream spade and
tarted to hit in the direction of Adriatik Kokona, Muhamet
Nezaj and Selim alias Selami Struga, who went out of the bar
running and left. The victim Gezim Celmeta also went out of
the bar, who after walking for several meters, fell on the
ground as a consequence of the suffered wound. Gezim Celmeta
was immediately sent to the hospital but due to the jabbing
and the wound suffered, he was dead.”
Exhibit 5 also contains the statement of witness Fatmir
Macka, made under penalty of perjury. He states that when he
entered the bar, he met Mr. Struga and Adriatik Kokona. They
sat together for about an hour, drinking and socializing.
When he left, Mr. Struga, Mr. Kokona, and Mehmet Neza were
still sitting at the table. After he went home, he heard
there was a quarrel, and that Gezim Celmeta had been killed.
Mr. Macka states that when he was at the bar, Mr. Celmeta was
not there. He states that the police ...