Albanian murderer granted bail by judge absconds after Sajid Javid orders his extradition

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Hektor Mahmutaj, 43, who smuggled himself into the UK hidden in a lorry, is wanted in his native Albania after being sentenced to a 25-year jail term for shooting a farmer.

In October Judge Tan Ikram ruled at Westminster magistrates court that Mahmutaj should be extradited to Albania.

However, despite Mahmutaj having a string of convictions in the UK, including firearms possession, he freed him on conditional bail.

This was while the case was referred to Home Secretary Sajid Javid for a final decision because Mahmutaj is a non-EU national.

Mr Javid upheld the decision at the end of last year, paving the way for the extradition.

It has since emerged that Mahmutaj breached his bail conditions and absconded after the decision was made. His current whereabouts are unknown.

Mahmutaj has been convicted of murder but denies the charge. It is expected he will face a retrial if and when he is extradited to Albania, because his initial trial was held in his absence.

Tory MP Philip Davies said last night: “It was obvious to everyone this man would abscond as I predicted at the time – but it seems the judge was the only person who couldn’t see this.

“This just highlights what a shambolic farce our justice system has become, and how perverse and idiotic some court decisions are. People are being unnecessarily being put at risk because of this.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “The Home Secretary signed the extradition order for Mr Mahmutaj late last year and we continue to seek his extradition.

“The delay in the case is a result of Mahmutaj not complying with his bail conditions and absconding.”

Mahmutaj, who argued that extradition would infringe his human rights, is on Interpol’s most-wanted list for charges of premeditated homicide and manufacture and possession of military weapons and ammunition.

He was sentenced to 25 years for shooting farmer Gentjan Jahaj dead in Albania in July 1997.

Westminster magistrates court heard Mahmutaj hid on a farm after the murder then fled to the UK in December the same year. He has lived in Britain ever since, using 13 aliases to avoid detection.

Mahmutaj, who was living in Huyton, Liverpool, was prosecuted and jailed a number of times in the UK since 2002, but avoided any extradition attempts for several years by using aliases that fooled the authorities.

His UK offences have included drink-driving and driving while disqualified. In 2007 he was jailed for two-and-a-half years at Liverpool Crown Court for possession of firearms.

Mahmutaj was living in Greece when he went back to Albania and allegedly killed Mr Jahaj.

While bailed Mahmutaj, who lodged a £10,000 surety to the court, was free to walk the streets apart from a four-hour daily curfew from 11pm until 3am, which was electronically monitored.

He was not allowed to enter any international travel hub or possess any travel documents and had to report daily, except Sundays, to police and live and sleep at his home in Huyton.

He also had to keep his mobile phone on and charged 24 hours a day.

Judge Ikram said in his judgment he did not find Mahmutaj’s denial of the murder “at all credible”.

He said: “I deal with the gravest of offences and a sentence of 25 years.

“He 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.”

Mahmutaj was arrested on an Interpol warrant in December 2006, when his real identity was revealed.

An extradition hearing took place at the same time as he was being tried for firearms offences committed in the UK. He was convicted and jailed. A separate judge then turned down an extradition application from Albania in December 2007.

A Home Office spokeswoman was unable to say why Mahmutaj was not deported in 2003 when he first came to the attention of the criminal justice system as an illegal immigrant.

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