Albania opens communist secret police files

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Albanian soldiers guarding Enver Hoxha tomb, 1985Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Enver Hoxha's tomb, 1985: The communist dictator created a personality cult

Albania's parliament has passed a law opening up communist-era secret police files to people who were spied on.

The Sigurimi relied on a huge network of civilian informers to muzzle any dissent and maintain the communist regime in power for decades.

Communist leader Enver Hoxha seized power in 1944 and isolated Albania as a one-party state until mass protests in 1991, which led to democratisation.

The police destroyed many files, but others will disclose some dark secrets.

Former regime collaborators will also have access to the surviving documents.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Stalin and other communist icons were celebrated in Albania in 1974

Experts estimate that at least 7,000 opponents of the regime were killed and more than 100,000 deported to labour camps. The harsh conditions there often proved fatal.

The new law - passed by 84 votes to 22 - also bars former Sigurimi members from holding public office in future.