• Campaigns

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia: Fear of further ill-treatment

, Index number: EUR 70/003/1997

Vesna Pesic (f), parliamentary deputy; Ljubivoj (Ljuba) Tadic, actor; Sergei Karazy, cameraman; and others: On the night of 2-3 February 1997 police charged and beat demonstrators at Brankov Bridge in Belgrade. Among those injured were Vesna Pesic, leader of the opposition party Civil Alliance, Ljuba Tadic, an actor, and several journalists and television cameramen, including Sergei Karazy, a cameraman for Reuters news agency. Amnesty International is calling on the authorities to desist from any further violence against peaceful demonstrators and to instigate a thorough investigation into these and other recent reports of ill-treatment by police.

EXTERNAL AI Index: EUR 70/03/97
UA 37/97 Fear of further ill-treatment 3 February 1997
FEDERAL REPUBLIC
OF YUGOSLAVIAVesna Peši_, parliamentary deputy
Ljubivoj (Ljuba) Tadi_, actor;
Sergei Karazy, cameraman, and others
On the night of 2-3 February 1997 police charged and beat demonstrators in
Belgrade, the capital. Hospital officials are reported to have said that about
130 people, including 10 police officers, were injured, but that all but two
had been treated and discharged. Among those injured was Vesna Peši_, leader
of the opposition party Civil Alliance, one of the three parties making up
the Zajedno (Together) coalition. Others named as injured included Ljubivoj
(Ljuba) Tadi_, an actor, and a number of journalists. Sergei Karazy, a
cameraman working for Reuters news agency, was among several television
cameramen who were hit by police. A woman with a broken arm and a man whose
nose and hand had sustained fractures remained in hospital for further
treatment.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
For over two and a half months now demonstrators supporting Zajedno, and
students, have been protesting against the annulment of election results in
November 1996 in a number of major cities, among them Belgrade, which Zajedno
claims to have won. This claim was supported in December by a fact-finding
mission from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
which was invited by the government.
On the evening of 2 February police had been blocking a group of demonstrators
who were attempting to cross Brankov Bridge from New Belgrade into the centre
of the city in order to join up with other demonstrators for a nightly rally
in the city centre. After a stand-off of several hours, around midnight police
reportedly suddenly charged, hitting protesters with truncheons. The
demonstration had reportedly been peaceful. At the time that Vesna Peši_ was
hit by a police officer, a lawyer accompanying her had just informed police
officers that she was a parliamentary deputy.
There were later clashes between police and demonstrators in the centre of
town, and some protesters reportedly threw bricks, bottles and empty dustbins
at police and set fire to car tyres. Police, with the aid of truncheons, water
cannons and teargas, had reportedly dispersed protesters by about 2am on 3
February.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in English, French, German or Russian or your own language:
- expressing deep concern at reports that on the night of 2-3 February 1997
police attacked and beat protesters demonstrating peacefully at Brankov Bridge,
among them Vesna Peši_ and Ljubivoj (Ljuba) Tadi_, and at reports of the beatings
of journalists, among them Sergei Karazy;
- urging the authorities to desist from any further violence against peaceful
demonstrators and emphasising that Articles 19 and 21 of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (which the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
recognizes as legally binding) guarantee the rights to freedom of expression
and freedom of peaceful assembly;
- calling for a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into these and
other recent reports of ill-treatment by police of demonstrators in the towns
2
of Smederevo, Kragujevac, Kraljevo and Smederevska Palanka and for any officers
found responsible to be brought to justice;
- urging the immediate and unconditional release of anyone who remains in
detention for the non-violent exercise of his or her right to freedom of assembly
and freedom of expression.
APPEALS TO:
President of the Republic of Serbia
Predsednik Republike Srbije
Slobodan Miloševi_
Andri_ev venac 1
11000 Beograd, FR Yugoslavia
Fax: + 381 11 682 167 or 656 862
Telegrams: Predsednik Srbije, Beograd, Yugoslavia
Salutation: Dear President
Minister of Internal Affairs
Zoran Sokolovi_
Ministar unutrašnjih poslova Republike Srbije
Kneza Miloša 101
11000 Beograd, FR Yugoslavia
Fax: +381 11 641 867 or 11 685 937
Telegrams: Ministar unutrasnjih poslova Srbije, Beograd, Yugoslavia
Salutation: Dear Minister
COPIES TO:
NGO Information Centre
Avalska 9,
11000 Beograd, Yugoslavia
Fax: +381 11 444 39 44
and to diplomatic representatives of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 17 March 1997.

Choose a language to view report