Beds, Herts & Bucks

Double murderer from Albania fights extradition from UK

Westminster Magistrates' Court
Image caption Avni Metra appeared before Westminster Magistrates' Court

A double murderer from Albania fighting extradition back home has told a court he fled the country because "there is no justice... only corruption".

Avni Metra, 53, formerly of Borehamwood in Hertfordshire, has been living as a fugitive in the UK for 18 years.

He was convicted in Albania in his absence of two murders and possession of firearms dating back to the 1990s and is entitled to a retrial.

He told Westminster magistrates he would not get a fair trial in Albania.

Speaking through an interpreter, Metra told the court he fled the country because "a police friend told me 'leave the country otherwise you are going to be killed - either it'll be by the government or someone else".

'Most grave'

Metra entered the UK in the late 1990s, claiming to be a Kosovan asylum seeker named Abdul Mekra.

His identity was revealed through a Daily Mail investigation. He claimed in court he changed his identity on arrival in the UK because an interpreter told him Abdul "sounded more Kosovan".

The father of four is fighting his extradition on human rights grounds, claiming his right to a family life in the UK. His legal team also told the court he would not be able to seek legal aid in Albania for his retrial.

Hannah Hinton, for the Albanian government, told the court Metra had not provided evidence of corruption in Albania, he had "no substantial contact" with his children, adding that he faced charges of "the most grave kind" in Albania.

The court heard Metra was estranged from his family after he was convicted of assaulting his wife in 2011 and a family court ruled he could only have limited contact with his children.

Metra, who remains in custody, will learn if he is to be extradited on 19 August.

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