Albanian Man Held In Columbus Says He’s Not A Killer, Country Has Wrong Person
An Albanian national claims that he never killed anybody and should not be deported.
The Albanian government convicted someone with the name Altin Hasani in absentia in 1999.
In an exclusive interview with 10TV investigative reporter Paul Aker, Altin Sabaudi Hasani said his arrest has been like a bad dream.
“It's horrible. I feel like I am losing everything that I dreamed of," Hasani said. "I am losing the reason that I came to the United States."
Hasani worked as a handyman at this Groveport apartment complex until April. That's when U.S. officials picked him up on a murder warrant.
"She told me that your charges are premeditated murder," Hasani said. "I was stunned. I was shocked. I didn't know what to say."
The warrant was issued from the notoriously corrupt country of Albania. It was for a killing that happened 24 years ago.
Hasani said the issue came up after he was close to securing his status as a naturalized citizen.
"Did you ever kill anybody?" Aker asked Hasani.
"No. Absolutely not," Hasani said. "We grew up poor, but we were honest people."
Still, the Albanian government insists that he did.
Albania filed court documents that say it was premeditated murder.
They list a birth date and the name Altin Hasani. Albanian witnesses also picked him in a photo line-up.
Hasani said the problem is that none of the details match.
"It's not me," Hasani.
He says that, because the documents contain errors. His middle name--that of his father--is Sabaudi, not Dinos as the original Albanian documents stated.
Hasani says the birth date of 1972 is also off by a year. His attorney, Kort Gatterdam, said the photo line-up was bogus too. He says Hasani was only picked because he looks much different than the others.
"I think people in America would be appalled that this is enough to convict somebody," Gatterdam said.
Hasani said that he did think it is possible the mistaken identity is simply a paperwork mix-up.
"From 1990, the original file, the birthday and the middle name is wrong," he said. "And it went along all the way until 2013."
The Albanian government did not respond to questions sent on Wednesday to its embassy in Washington D.C.
Hasani said that he worries that Albania's mistake will cost him everything he's worked for during the past 13 years.
"I am afraid I will lose my green card, and I am afraid that I might never be able to come back again. And everyone I have is here. Everybody I love is here. My job is here," Hasani said. "My life is here."
Citing the pending nature of Hasani's case, a spokesman for the U.S. Prosecutor's office declined to comment.