Hektor Mahmutaj, who is currently on INTERPOL’s most-wanted list, has absconded whilst remanded on bail pending the Home Secretary’s approval of his extradition to Albania.
In 1997, Mr Mahmutaj was convicted of murder in Albania and sentenced to a 25-year term of imprisonment, in his absence. Albania initially requested his extradition from the UK in December 2007, but the request was rejected because Mr Mahmutaj was facing trial for firearms offences committed in the UK. He was convicted of those firearms offences and served a 30 month- term of imprisonment in a UK prison.
Albania then requested Mr Mahmutaj’s extradition a second time and in October 2018, Judge Tan Ikram ruled at Westminster Magistrates’ Court that he should be extradited to Albania. In his judgment, Judge Ikram said that he did not find Mr Mahmutaj’s denial of the murder “at all credible”. He also explained that Mr Mahmutaj “has convictions in the UK dating back to July 2002. He passed through the criminal justice system several times without giving his proper identity. This included being convicted of firearms offences in this jurisdiction…He is recorded as having 13 alias names and six alias dates of births. He says he gave false details to the police due to his immigration status in the UK…He has convictions in this country and has served prison sentences including 30 months for possession of a firearm. I note he has offended again since the previous extradition proceedings when extradition was refused.”
Mr Mahmutaj was remanded on conditional bail whilst his case was referred to the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, for his final approval of the Extradition Order. The conditions placed on his remand on bail included:
• a £10,000 surety paid to the court by Mr Mahmutaj;
• a four-hour, electronically monitored, curfew from 11pm until 3am each day;
• a requirement that his mobile phone be kept on and charged 24 hours a day;
• a ban on entering any international travel hub or possessing any travel documents;
• a requirement to report daily, except Sundays, to the police; and
• a residency requirement to live and sleep at his home in Liverpool.
Mr Javid upheld the Extradition Order at the end of 2018, and it was then discovered that Mr Mahmutaj had absconded, his whereabouts are now unknown.
Mr Mahmutaj has always denied the murder and it is likely that if he is extradited to Albania, he will have the opportunity to attend a re-trial because his first trial was heard in his absence.