In a remarkable turn of events, Fatos Skeja, once a defendant for fines before the Court of Serious Crimes in 2014, now stands before judges as a lawyer. Skeja’s journey from bodyguard to the prominent Berisha family to a legal professional has captured attention.
Accused of involvement in an alleged robbery attempt targeting Hekuran Deda’s family after the tragic murder on January 21, 2011, Fatos Skeja’s past includes serving as Shkëlzen Berisha’s personal bodyguard. However, he embarked on a new path by obtaining a lawyer’s license and subsequently registering as a natural person to practice law, defending and representing individuals in various court cases.
The Court of Serious Crimes sentenced Skeja to a three-year prison term in October 2015 for the charge of “Extortion through threats to give away property.” The case involved threats made against Ramazan Hima, an Albanian-American citizen conducting business in Philadelphia. Hima, who courageously resisted Skeja’s demands for $100,000, filed a complaint with the prosecutor’s office, leading to Skeja’s arrest in December 2013 and subsequent conviction a year later.
Beyond the legal battles, Fatos Skeja’s name also surfaced in relation to Sali Berisha’s behind-the-scenes activities following the January 21, 2011 murders. As a member of the Republic Guard, Skeja faced accusations from Hekuran Deda’s family. They claimed that he had offered them money and the photograph of the alleged killer in exchange for accepting Sali Berisha’s comfort at home, while Berisha sought to implicate Edi Rama.
Hilmi Deda, Hekuran Deda’s brother, vividly recalled an encounter with Skeja, stating, “On January 23, 2011, at 11:30 at night, he came to our house and drank coffee. He left another 10,000 lek. After he went out into the street, he asked to talk to me and my older brother. The younger brother was also there. He promised us a sum of money: ‘Wait for Berisha. Accept the Prime Minister, as you have a sum of money, which I have kept in my suitcase, and I will show you the photograph that shot at Hekuran.'”
Skeja, however, vehemently denied any involvement in such mediation and filed a defamation lawsuit against Hilmi Deda. Initially, the Court of First Instance ruled in Skeja’s favor, imposing fines on Deda, who had tragically lost his brother in the January 21 protest. However, this decision was later overturned by the Court of Appeal.
In October 2013, following the socialist party’s ascent to power, Saimir Tahiri, the Minister of the Interior at the time, dismissed Fatos Skeja from his position in the Republic Guard. Simultaneously, Skeja faced an ongoing investigation by the prosecutor’s office for fines, a matter that had been under scrutiny since August.
Five years later, in 2018, it came to light that Skeja had emerged victorious in the Appeal, challenging Tahiri’s decision, as evidenced by executor Evelina Bekteshi receiving the amount of 369,280 ALL from the Guard of the Republic.
Fatos Skeja’s journey is a testament to personal transformation, from a defendant entangled in legal issues to an advocate in the courtroom, leaving behind a complex past that continues to intrigue and captivate observers.