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Albania: Further information on arbitrary detention / ill-treatment

, Index number: EUR 11/015/1996

Blendi Gonxhe, Arben Imami, Gramoz Pashko, Servet Pellumbi, Namik Dokle, Arta Deda (f), Musa Ulqini, Ali Lelaj, Luan Hajdaraga, Gaqo Apostolli, Paskal Milo, Maqo Lakrori, Sphresa Sula (f), Neritan Ceka, Skender Gjinushi and other leaders, activists and supporters of opposition parties and journalists: Following considerable international criticism of official intimidation, violence and polling irregularities during national elections on 26 May 1996 and the suppression of a protest by the opposition in Tirana on 28 May, the authorities announced that seven senior police officers had been dismissed for "incompetence". In addition, an investigation has been started in connection with the demonstration of 28 May. It is not clear, however, whether the main aim of the investigation is to determine who organized the demonstration -in order to bring charges against them- or to determine which police officers were responsible for beating demonstrators that day.

EXTERNAL AI Index: EUR 11/15/96
8 August 1996
Further information on EXTRA 74/96 (EUR 11/12/96, 21 mAY 1996) and follow-up
(EUR 11/113/96 of 29 May 1996) - Arbitrary detention / Ill-treatment
ALBANIABlendi Gonxhe, Arben Imami, Gramoz Pashko, Sërvet llumbi, Namik Dokle,
Arta Deda (f), Musa Ulqini, Ali Lelaj, Luan Hajdaraga, Gaqo
Apostolli, Paskal Milo, Maqo Lakrori, Shpresa Sula (f),
Neritan Çeka, Skënder Gjinushi and other leaders, activists
and supporters of opposition parties, and journalists
Following considerable international criticism of official intimidation,
violence and polling irregularities in connection with national elections on
26 May 1996 and the suppression of a protest by the opposition in Tirana on
28 May, the authorities announced that seven senior police officers had been
dismissed for "incompetence".
In addition, an investigation has been started in connection with the
demonstration of 28 May. A number of leading members of the opposition have
been called to the Prosecutor's office in Tirana to give statements, although
it is not clear whether the main aim of the investigation is to determine who
organized the demonstration (for which the authorities had refused permission)
and to bring charges against them, or to determine which police officers were
responsible for beating and otherwise ill-treating demonstrators that day.
Meanwhile, on 16 July a Tirana court found four men guilty of taking part in
the banned demonstration on 28 May and sentenced them to fines. Six others
were acquitted.
On 1 July the new parliament convened; the ruling Democratic Party has 122
out of 140 seats and three smaller parties a total of eight seats. The main
opposition party, the Socialist Party, which pulled out of the elections
alleging vote-rigging (it won 10 seats), is boycotting the parliament. The
parliament has set up a commission to investigate allegations of fraud and
violence during elections, but the Socialist Party has expressed its lack of
confidence in the commission's ability to conduct an impartial investigation
into this matter.
On 1 August parliament ratified the European Convention for the Protection
of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the European Convention for the
Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send faxes/express/airmail letters in
Italian, English, French or in your own language:
- welcoming measures reportedly taken by the authorities to investigate the
beating and ill-treatment of opposition demonstrators on 28 May 1996 in Tirana
by police officers;
- noting, however, that while four demonstrators have reportedly been convicted
and fined for taking part in the demonstration, it appears that no charges
have yet been filed against police officers responsible for ill-treatment
although seven are reported to have been dismissed from service;
- urging that any investigation of these events be carried out promptly and
impartially and that its methods and its findings be made public;
- urging that police officers responsible for ill-treatment be brought to
justice;
- welcoming Albania's recent ratification of the European Convention for the
Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the European Convention
2
for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
and urging that the human rights guaranteed in these instruments be fully
implemented.
APPEALS TO:
President of Albania
Dr Sali Berisha
Presidenti i Republikës së Shqiperisë
Tirana, Republic of Albania
Faxes: +355 42 33761 or 355 42 28 420
Salutation: Dear President
Minister of Public Order
Mr Halit Shamata
Minister i Rendit Publik, Tirana, Albania
Salutation: Dear Minister
COPIES TO:
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr Tritan Shehu
Minister i Punëve të Jashtme, Tirana, Albania
The Albanian Helsinki Committee
Komiteti Shqiptar i Helsinkit
Qendra Nderkombetare e kultures, Dhoma no.35
Bulevardi "Deshmoret e kombit"
Tirana, Albania
and to diplomatic representatives of Albania accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 10 September 1996.

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