Federal Republic of Yugoslavia: Torture and unfair trial of Muslims in the Sandzak Region: the arrest and trial of Hajriz Kolasinac and co-defendants
In 1993 and early 1994 some 50 Sandzak Muslims were arrested on charges of conspiring to establish, by means of force, the Sandzak region as an independent state. In October and December 1994, 45 of them were convicted at two separate trials and sentenced to between one year and seven years' imprisonment. AI is concerned about allegations that following arrest they were beaten and ill-treated by police officers. AI is also concerned that the defendants were denied a fair trial. This concern arises out of the fact that the court, having failed to thoroughly investigate these allegations, based its conviction of the defendants very largely on the statements which had allegedly been extorted from them by torture and other coercion. Secondly, the defendants' access to their lawyers and their lawyers' access to the full court files were restricted in various ways, thus undermining their right to defence.