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Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Kosovo province): Death after custody / fear of torture/ill-treatment: Shefki Latifi, Ramadan Salihu and other ethnic Albanians

, Index number: EUR 70/009/1995

The death on 4 July 1995 of Shefki Latifi after allegedly being severely beaten in custody has greatly increased fears for the safety of other ethnic Albanians in Kosovo province as short-term arrests continue. He was reportedly arrested in the street by police officers in Podujevo and taken to the police station on the morning of 4 July. His friend, Ramadan Salihu, was also severely beaten at the police station. An investigating judge in the town of Prokuplje has reportedly being asked to issue an order for an autopsy. The number of arrests of ethnic Albaniana, particularly in Podujevo, has increased since 26 June, when and ethnic Albaninan police officer worker for the State Security Police of Serbia was shot dead.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: EUR 70/09/95
Distr: UA/SC
UA 163/95 Death after custody / Fear of torture/ill-treatment 7 July 1995
FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA (Kosovo province)Shefki Latifi
Ramadan Salihu
and other ethnic Albanians
The death on 4 July 1995 of Shefki Latifi after allegedly being severely beaten
in custody has greatly heightened fears for the safety of other ethnic Albanians
in Kosovo province as short-term arrests there continue.
On the morning of 4 July, Shefki Latifi, from the town of Podujevo and an
accountant of the local "parallel" ethnic Albanian municipal bureau, was
reportedly arrested in the street by police officers and taken to the police
station in Podujevo. There, he and a friend, Ramadan Salihu, whom the police
had arrested at Shefki Latifi's house while looking for Latifi, were reportedly
severely beaten by police officers, including one known to his two victims
by his nickname.
The two men were then released and the police ordered Ramadan Salihu to drive
Shefki Latifi home. It seems that Latifi, conscious but injured, asked his
friend to drive him to hospital. As they were about to enter the local medical
centre, police officers reportedly stopped the car, forced Ramadan Salihu out,
and again beat him. Shefki Latifi received first aid at the centre and was
sent home, where he died later that morning.
Shefki Latifi's family have reportedly been told by staff at Pristina hospital
(Pristina is the capital of Kosovo province) that an investigating judge in
the town of Prokuplje has been asked to issue an order for an autopsy to be
carried out.
Meanwhile, arrests of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo province are continuing.
The number of arrests, particularly in Podujevo, has increased since 26 June,
when Bejtush Beka, an ethnic Albanian police officer working for the state
security police of Serbia, was shot in the back in Podujevo by an unknown person.
He subsequently died. Police have already arrested and questioned many ethnic
Albanian political and human rights activists, including members of local
organizations, like Shefki Latifi, who refuse to recognize Serbian authority
in the province. Although the majority of those arrested are released within
24 hours, many are alleged to have been severely ill-treated, compounding fears
for the safety of any ethnic Albanian now taken into custody.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
To Amnesty International's knowledge, Shefki Latifi is the third ethnic Albanian
in Kosovo in 1995 to have died after arrest and alleged ill-treatment in custody.
On the night of 12/13 April Abedin Ahmeti died in police custody in Mitrovica.
Two police officers are reportedly under investigation in connection with his
death. On 9 April Ismail Salihu was arrested by police and severely ill-treated;
as a result he was admitted to hospital from 10 to 14 April. He returned home
but died on 1 May, apparently as a result of his ill-treatment.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/airmail letters in English,
French, German or your own language:
2
- expressing deep concern about the alleged ill-treatment on 4 July 1995 in
Podujevo police station of Shefki Latifi and Ramadan Salihu, which apparently
resulted in the death of Shefki Latifi;
- calling for a prompt, impartial and thorough investigation into these
allegations, and urging that any police officer responsible for the
ill-treatment of these two men be brought to justice;
- noting that Amnesty International constantly receives reports of the torture
and ill-treatment of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo province, in violation of
international human rights treaties recognized by Yugoslavia; - calling for
immediate measures to put a stop to torture and ill-treatment, and for any
police officer who fails to respect international human rights standards to
be duly prosecuted and brought to justice.
APPEALS TO
nnMinister of Internal Affairs of Serbia
Zoran Sokolovi_
Ministar unutrašnjih poslova Republike Srbije
Kneza Miloša 101
11000 Beograd, Yugoslavia
Faxes: +381 11 685 937
Telegrams: MUP Srbije, Belgrade, Yugoslavia
Salutation: Dear Minister
The chief of police, Podujevo
Na_elnik Organa Unutrašnjih Poslova
38240 Podujevo, AP Kosovo i Metohija, Yugoslavia
Telegrams: Nacelnik, OUP, Podujevo, AP Kosovo i Metojija.
Salutation: Chief of Police
The district public prosecutor
Okru_ni javni tu_ilac
38000 Priština, AP Kosovo i Metohija, Yugoslavia
Telegrams: Okruzni javni tuzilac, Pristina, AP Kosovo i Metohija
Salutation: Dear Prosecutor
COPIES TO:
Committee for the Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms, Priština:
Xhavit Mitrovica 15
38000 Priština, Yugoslavia.
Humanitarian Law Fund
Terazije 6/111
11000 Beograd
Yugoslavia
and to diplomatic representatives of 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 20 August 1995.

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