EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: EUR 70/07/94
EXTRA 21/94 Torture and ill-treatment / Trial concern 12 March 1994
YUGOSLAVIAIsmet MAHMUTI, Faik AJETI, Shemsi VESELI, Salih MUSTAFA, Ismet
VELIQI, Avdi BEHRAMI, Azem GASHI (held in Kosovska Mitrovica
Fehmi LESTRANI, Shkëlzen BAJRAMI, Nexhmedin SADRIU, Luan HETA, Beqir MULECI
and Hysni FRANCI (held in Priština district prison).
- ethnic Albanians from Kosovo province in southern Serbia
Amnesty International is concerned by allegations that the ethnic Albanians
named above have been subjected to torture and ill-treatment and that, as a
result, some may have made statements incriminating themselves or others.
The organization fears they may be subjected to more torture or ill-treatment
in order to extract further "confessions", or to attempt to stop them retracting
statements they have already made. The men are detained pending trial or
following conviction on charges of conspiring to undermine, by violent means,
Yugoslavia's territorial integrity under Articles 116 and 136 of the Yugoslav
Ismet Mahmuti, Faik Ajeti, Shemsi Veseli and Salih Mustafa were detained in
August 1993 and convicted on 27 February 1994, together with 13 others by the
district court of Priština [see EXTRA 73/94 (EUR 70/18/93, 25 August 1993)
and follow-ups (EUR 70/24/93, 9 December; and EUR 70/04/94, 3 March 1994)].
At the end of March 1994 it was reported that Ismet Mahmuti and Faik Ajeti
were among another group of defendants under investigation - again on charges
under Articles 116 and 136. Lawyers for the four have alleged that, since
transfer from Priština to Kosovska Mitrovica prison in late March, they have
been severely tortured, apparently with the aim of forcing them to make further
statements incriminating themselves or others.
Ismet Veliqi, Avdi Behrami and Azem Gashi, former officers of the Yugoslav
National Army, were arrested at the end of February 1994 and held for
investigation in Kosovska Mitrovica prison. It is alleged that they have been
beaten and tortured with electric batons.
Fehmi Lestrani, Shkëlzen Bajrami, Nexhmedin Sadriu, Luan Heta, Beqir Muleci
and Hysni Franci were arrested in February 1994 and have been charged with
undergoing military training in neighbouring Albania in preparation for
carrying out terrorist acts in Yugoslavia. On 7 April it was reported that
their lawyers had alleged that they had made statements under torture confessing
to the charges against them. However, a lawyer for Shkëlzen Bajrami denied
that his client had engaged in military training in Albania. He said that
Shkëlzen Bajrami had fled to Albania at the end of 1992 in order to avoid
conscription into the Yugoslav Army, spending only a few months there before
going on to work on a farm in Greece.
In the last six months over 60 ethnic Albanians in Kosovo province have been
convicted and sentenced to up to 10 years' imprisonment on charges of making
preparations for armed uprising in order to achieve the province's secession
from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Amnesty International believes that
some of these are prisoners of conscience convicted for the non-violent exercise