Albanian Torturer Found Living in Fulham Council Flat

Double life brought to an end at Westminster Magistrates Court

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A former Albanian spy who is wanted in his own country for torture and kidnapping has been found living under a false name in Fulham Court council estate.

Ilir Kumbaro, 55, who claimed asylum in the UK in 1996 by posing as a Kosovan refugee, was even claiming incapacity benefits for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

It was those benefits that led to his downfall, when Kumbara made a fatal slip-up. In order to claim, he had to register with Ealing, Hammersmith and Hounslow Health Authority.


But instead of using his false name, Shaqa Shatri, he inexplicably gave away his real name.

The registration alerted detectives who had been hunting for Kumbara following a request from the authorities in Albania. They uncovered a photo of the real Shaqa Shatri, a 63 year-old Kosovan who looks nothing like Kumbara.

When Scotland Yard detectives visited his Fulham flat, they found the man living with two other people, who it is believed are his wife Vjollica and his son Ervin.

Now Kumbaro's 13 years in hiding have been brought to an end at an extradition hearing, held at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.

Judge Howard Riddle said: "I have no doubt that the defendant in the dock is Ilir Kumbaro.

I must send this case to the Secretary of State for a decision whether the defendant is to be extradited."

He added: " Mr Kumbaro went to enormous lengths to avoid detection. He fled his country shortly after the offences complained of, adopted a false identity and maintains to this day he is not Ilir Kumbaro. It is evident that Mr Kumbaro was intent on avoiding prosecution by assuming, in an elaborate, careful and sustained way, a false identity."

Amnesty International , who have campaigned on this case for many years, welcomed the court decision today to allow the extradition of Ilir Kumbaro to face charges of abduction and torture in his home country.

March 25, 2009