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Press Release

Former embassy employee sentenced to imprisonment for domestic violence against his spouse

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Georgia

ATLANTA - - Ilirjan Shema has been sentenced for the violent assault of his spouse, a U.S. diplomat serving overseas in the U.S. embassy housing in Moldova.

“Domestic violence is physical abuse with the potential for generational harm,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan.  “There is never an excuse for this behavior.  Holding these perpetrators accountable is an important function of the justice system and one that this office takes seriously.”

“As the lead agency in this investigation, the Diplomatic Security Service demonstrated its strong commitment to making sure those who commit domestic violence against diplomatic personnel face consequences,” said Andrew Wroblewski, Assistant Director for Domestic Operations, U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS). “Our strong relationship with our law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney’s Office continues to be essential in the pursuit of justice for all victims.”

According to the charges and information presented in court:  Ilirjan Shema accompanied his family to Chisinau, Moldova, where his spouse, an employee of the U.S. Department of State, was assigned to work as a Foreign Service Officer at the U.S. Embassy. While in Moldova, Shema obtained a family member position to work at the Embassy.

On April 10, 2021, while inside their official residence provided by the embassy, Shema attacked his wife, striking her, throwing her to the ground, and strangling her in the presence of the couple’s two children. The attack resulted in physical injuries. Shema was subsequently arrested in Aug. 5, 2021, when he traveled from Albania to Atlanta, Georgia.

Ilirjan Shema, also known as “Lily,” age 46, of Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Stephen Grimberg to one year, six months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay restitution to the victim and to participate in a program for domestic violence upon release from prison.  Shema was convicted of the charge of assault, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2261(a)(1), on November 8, 2023, after he pleaded guilty. 

This case was investigated the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) Office of Special Investigations.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Gabay-Smith and Trial Attorney Brian Morgan of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section prosecuted the case.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is

Updated March 3, 2023

Violent Crime