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Yugoslavia (Kosovo): Further information on torture and ill-treatment: ethnic Albanian former police employees

, رقم الوثيقة: EUR 70/018/1995

On 22 September, the trial of 44 defendants, mostly ethnic Albanian former police officers, ended in Prizren. Thirty-eight defendants were convicted of seeking to undermine Yugoslavia's integrity by force by preparing to set up a "parallel" or clandestine ethnic Albanian police force in Kosovo Province. They were sentenced to prison terms ranging between one and six years' imprisonment. Six defendants remained in detention, the others were released pending appeal. Charges against three defendants were withdrawn and two defendants were acquitted by the court. One case, against Halil Blakaj, will be tried separately.

EXTERNAL AI Index: EUR 70/18/95
5 October 1995
Further information (9) on UA 412/94 (EUR 70/26/94, 24 November 1994) and
follow-ups: EUR 70/27/94, 25 November; EUR 70/28/94, 2 December; EUR 70/29/94,
8 December; EUR 70/01/95, 24 January 1995; EUR 70/03/95, 24 March; EUR 70/04/95,
26 April; EUR 70/05/95, 14 June; EUR 70/14/95, 25 August; - Torture and
Ill-treatment
YUGOSLAVIA (Kosovo Province) Ethnic Albanian former police employees
On 22 September, the trial in Prizren of 44 defendants, most of them ethnic
Albanian former police officers, ended. Thirty-eight defendants were convicted
of seeking to undermine Yugoslavia's integrity by force by preparing to set
up a "parallel" or clandestine ethnic Albanian police force in Kosovo province.
They were sentenced to prison terms ranging between one and six years'
imprisonment. Six defendants (Xhelal Canziba, Esta Jaha, Rexhep Oruçi, Xhemajl
Haxhimustafa, Gani Mullaabazi and Sali Sokoli) remained in detention, the others
were released pending appeal.The public prosecutor withdrew charges against
three defendants and two defendants were acquitted by the court.The case of
another defendant Halil Blakaj, will be tried separately.
This was the last trial of some 160 ethnic Albanian police officers who were
arrested in November and December 1994. Since then, 139 of them have been
convicted and sentenced to prison terms of up to eight years in four separate
trials. Most of these have been released pending appeal to the Supreme Court
of Serbia, but 22, sentenced to prison terms of five years or more, remain
in detention.
At trial, the defendants denied the charges against them and said their
activities had consisted of trade union work on behalf of the Union of (former)
Police Employees. Many of them alleged that they had been tortured or otherwise
ill-treated by police following their arrest, as a result of which they had
made false, self-incriminating confessions. At the trials some of the defendants
were in very poor health, apparently due to the ill-treatment they had suffered.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send express/airmail letters in English,
French or German or in your own language:
- referring to the most recent trial of 44 defendants (the majority of them
former police employees) before the district court of Prizren on charges under
Articles 116 and 138 of the Yugoslav Criminal Code, noting that almost all
defendants have made detailed allegations that they were severely beaten or
otherwise ill-treated by police following arrest and that this ill-treatment
in some cases appears to have seriously affected their health;
- urging that the allegations of ill-treatment made at this trial and at recent
similar trials in Pristina, Pec and Gnjilane be promptly, thoroughly and
impartially investigated and that any police officers found responsible brought
to justice, in conformity with Articles 7, 12 and 13 of the Convention against
Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (ratified
by Yugoslavia);
- expressing grave concern that the defendants were denied a fair trial in
that the courts accepted as evidence statements made by the defendants during
pre-trial investigation proceedings which the defendants at their trial alleged
had been extracted from them by torture and other ill-treatment; state that
the acceptance of these statements without investigating allegations about
the manner in which they were obtained is in conflict with Article 15 of the
2
above Convention which states: "Each State Party shall ensure that any statement
which is established to have been made as a result of torture shall not be
invoked as evidence in any proceedings, except against a person accused of
torture as evidence that the statement was made."
APPEALS TO:
President of the Republic of Serbia
Mr Slobodan Miloševi_
Predsednik Republike Srbije
Andri_ev venac 1
11000 Beograd, Yugoslavia
Salutation: Dear President
Minister of Justice of Serbia
Mr Arandjel Marki_evi_
Ministar pravde
Republi_ko Ministarstvo za pravosudje i opštu upravu
Nemanjina 26
11000 Beograd, Yugoslavia
Salutation: Dear Minister
Public Prosecutor of Ssrbia
Republicki Javni Tuzilac
Javno tuzilastvo Republike Srbije
Nemanjina 26
11000 Beograd, Yugoslavia
Salutation: Dear President of the Assembly
COPIES TO:
Serbian Medical Association
D_ord_a Vašingtona 19
11000 Beograd
Yugoslavia
Committee for the Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms
Xhavit Mitrovica 15
38000 Priština, Yugoslavia.
Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia
Obili_ev Venac 27/IV
Belgrade, Yugoslavia
and to diplomatic representatives of Yugoslavia accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY up to the end October 1995, after which date
no further action is requested from the UA Network.

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