Albania condemns late Stalinist dictator Enver Hoxha for presiding over one of Europe's most brutal communist regimes, but his victims said on Thursday the state should go further and strip him of his medals.
Adrian Kati, executive director of the Albanian Centre for the Rehabiliation of Trauma and Torture, said he had appealed to President Bamir Topi for help on the matter, who in turn encouraged the group to pursue legal steps.
"We have verified that Enver Hoxha still holds the titles and decorations 'Hero of the People,' 'Hero of Socialist Labour,' 'Hero of the Peoples of Yugoslavia' and 'Hero of the Peoples of the Soviet Union,' among others," Kati said.
Hoxha often wore the medals during ceremonial occasions such as liberation day parades.
"It will be just and moral for Albanians to have him stripped of all these (awards) ahead of the 20th anniversary of the toppling of his statue in the Albanian capital," Kati added.
Angry crowds toppled Hoxha's statue on February 1991 in what marked the end of an era of fear for many Albanians.
Hoxha took power at the end of World War Two after leading his communist partisans against Italian and German occupying forces as well as battling Albanian nationalists and monarchists.
He ruled with an iron fist until his death in April 1985, five years before communism collapsed in Albania.
About 5,000 men and 450 women were executed under Hoxha's rule and up to 34,135 people were jailed, including 1,000 who died. Many families are still looking for remains of their executed relatives.
"Meawhile, Albania's political class has not been able to judge and condemn Hoxha for crimes committed openly under his personal leadership and responsibility," Kati said.
Hoxha's widow, Nexhmije, and his handpicked successor Ramiz Alia were tried and sentenced to jail terms for petty financial abuses. Nexhmije protested loudly six years ago when the Defence Ministry refused to recognise Hoxha as a World War Two veteran.
ISIL has abducted 500 children and have been taken to ISIL bases in Iraq and Syria to be used in terror attacks.
American Muslim woman Tahera Ahmad says the flight attendant refused to give her an unopened can of soda
Two explosions ripped through a market in the city of Maiduguri.
Proposed law adopted by German federal government will allow phone and Internet data to be held for 10 weeks
On Friday thirty Muslim students were denied entry to the De Mot-Couvreur institute in Brussels for wearing long skirts.
The Ukrainian cabinet of ministers have appointed Mikhail Saakashvili as governor of Odessa, Ukraine.
Belgium has expelled Turkish politician Mahinur Ozdemir over her refusal to use the world "genocide" over the 1915 events.
An American Islamic group have responded to the protest outside mosque in Phoenix.
Russia has put in place a travel ban on 89 politicians and military leaders in a move that has seen the worst stand off with the West in years.
The Italian navy has rescued more than 4,200 migrants in the past 24 hours off the coast of Libya, with a boat carrying 17 corpses.
Israel's Palestine policy has been condemned by the Union of French Jews for Peace as it participates in 'The Ship to Gaza' flotilla to end the blockade in Gaza
Two of Burundi's vice presidents of the election commission have resigned and fled the country.
The US Patriot Act which allows the NSA to collect telephone records is set to expire on Sunday if the US Congress acts to renew it.
Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto had misrepresented a land deal to authorities in which he acquired a property
Sepp Blatter has been reelected as president of FIFA.