Albanian jailed for life over killing of 2 Czech tourists

July 5, 2022 GMT

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albania’s Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a life sentence imposed on a local man over the killing of two Czech tourists during a carjacking robbery in 2015.

Sokol Mjacaj, 27, was convicted of fatally shooting the two tourists in Prekal village, 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of the capital Tirana, according to the verdict made available by the court’s spokeswoman.

The two Czechs, Michal Svatos and Anna Kusinova, were travelling in their car when Mjacaj stopped them at gunpoint in Lotaj village, 190 kilometers (120 miles) north of Tirana. He climbed into the car and told them to drive toward Shkodra city.

Near Prekal the Czech driver braked hard and ran from the car but was shot by the gunman. It was unclear how the Czech woman was shot dead.

Mjacaj admitted to the killings and said he had aimed to rob the couple. Local media said he was arrested after trying to sell a camera that belonged to the Czechs.

Tuesday’s verdict follow’s Mjacaj’s appeal against two previous guilty rulings by lower courts.

The number of Czech tourists visiting Albania has increased significantly in recent years. Most come by car, attracted by the tiny Western Balkan country’s largely unexplored natural beauties and its comparatively low prices.