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Further information on UA 509/90 (EUR 11/07/90, 18 December) - Albania: death penalty / legal concern - new torture concern: Hysen Gjoci, Gjergj Gjikopulli and many others

, Index number: EUR 11/008/1990

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: EUR 11/08/90
Distr: UA/SC
20 December 1990
Further information on UA 509/90 (EUR 11/07/90, 18 December 1990) - Death
Penalty/Legal Concern
ALBANIA:Hysen Gjoci
Gjergj Gjikopulli
+ many others
According to the international press agency Reuters, on 19 December 1990 Radio
Tirana reported that 26 people had already received prison sentences of up
to 20 years for their part in violent demonstrations in Durrës, Elbasan and
Shkoder on 13 and 14 December. They were reportedly convicted of "premeditated
damage to common property, violent resistance to the representatives of the
state, violation of the law on gatherings and assembly and socially undignified
behaviour". Quoting an Albanian Justice Ministry statement, Radio Tirana said
that in Shkodër one person was sentenced to 20 years and two more to 15 years'
imprisonment each. In Elbasan one person was jailed for 11 years, and in Durrës
a court imposed two prison sentences of 14 years, one of 13 years and one of
12 years.
A spokesman for the newly-founded opposition party, the Democratic Party,
told Reuters that the party had received reports that many of those arrested
in Elbasan, Shkodër and Durrës had been tortured and forced to admit to crimes
which they did not commit. He also said that despite official statements that
all the accused had been represented by lawyers,
many had in fact been tried without lawyers to defend them. Accounts by former
prisoners of conscience given to Amnesty International indicate that it has
been common practice for police and investigators to torture and ill-treat
people suspected of criminal or political offences in order to obtain
confessions from them. Lawyers were banned in 1967 and only recently (in
November 1990) allowed to practise again. In view of the long period in which
this profession was banned in Albania, it seems likely that the number of
qualified and competent qualified lawyers is limited.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/express and airmail letters:
- expressing concern at allegations that many of those charged in connection
with recent violent demonstrations have been tortured and that of those tried,
many have not been defended by a lawyer;
- urging that all those arrested not be ill-treated and be guaranteed legal
safeguards, including prompt access to their families and to lawyers, time
to prepare their defence and an open trial;
- expressing concern at reports that several of those arrested have been charged
with offences for which the maximum sentence is the death penalty;
- stating that Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases
without reservation, on the grounds that it is the ultimate cruel, inhuman
and degrading punishment.
President Ramiz Alia
Chairman of the Presidium
of the People's Assembly
Telexes: 4298 PKPRSSH AB
Telegrams: President Ramiz Alia, Tirana, Albania
Prime Minister Adil Çarçani
Council of Ministers
(Keshili i Ministrave)
Telegrams: Prime Minister Adil Carcani, Tirana, Albania
Telexes: 4201 kmrpssh ab
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ministria e Puneve te Jashtme
and to diplomatic representatives of Albania in your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 31 January 1991.

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