EXTERNAL AI Index: EUR 11/12/96
EXTRA 74/96 Arbitrary Detention / Ill-treatment 21 May 1996
ALBANIAActivists and supporters of opposition parties
In the run-up to national elections on 26 May 1996, there have been numerous
reports that members of opposition parties, in particular the Socialist Party
(SP) - formerly the Albanian communist party - have been arbitrarily detained
and ill-treated by police. These incidents have taken place within the context
of a series of measures by the government of the ruling Democratic Party aimed
at hindering the activity of opposition parties during the election campaign.
Amnesty International fears that this pattern of harassment may worsen in the
final approach to the elections.
Opposition activists have been arrested and detained, usually for several hours,
but sometimes longer, after pasting up posters or photographs of Fatos Nano,
the imprisoned SP leader, or writing slogans on walls. Others have been detained
prior to and during election rallies. In some cases they have been beaten and
injured by police officers.The following are just some of the incidents that
have been reported in the press.
On 21 April 1996, Bilal Semanaj, an SP supporter, was detained at an SP rally
in Tirana. This was allegedly the ninth time he had been detained since July
1993 when he took part in a protest demonstration against the imprisonment
of Fatos Nano.
On 29 April, SP activists Sotir Meçe, Agim Sulmina, Kristaq Hanxhara and Mehemet
Bozi were detained in Elbasan for several hours after police tore down SP posters
they had posted up.
On 4 or 5 May, Bashkim Kamberi, a leading activist of another opposition party,
the National Unity Party, was arrested at night at his home and held for several
On 6 May, at least seven SP activists were arrested in Kurbin where an SP rally
was being held. They were detained for up to 13 hours and several were severely
beaten by police, among them Gjokë Lulashi, Petraq Kumaraku and Marash Marashi.
Marash Marashi claimed that police had beaten him about the head, legs and
shoulders, with rubber truncheons and when they released him had told him:
"Don't let us see you any more at SP meetings."
On 9 May Iliaz Labi, Alfred Dhuli and Aliosha Qamaj, local leaders of the Albanian
Eurosocialist Forum were detained in Durrës. Aliosha Qamaj was reportedly
ill-treated by police and has filed a complaint, supported by a medical
certificate, against two police officers.
On 16 May five members of a third opposition party, the Democratic Alliance
Party, were detained in Tirana after a rally. The party alleged that on this
occasion a police chief had punched and hit one of them, Ridvan Peshkepia,
after he asked why police were searching their cars and not allowing them to
leave. Police have denied these allegations.
On 20 May, Saimir Xhuglini, Lame Lamaj and Lulzim Masha, three leading members
of the Albanian Eurosocialist Forum, were severely beaten by police in Tirana
while they waited for the start of a rally. Some 20 youths who wanted to attend
the same rally were reportedly detained by police.