EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: EUR 48/14/90
UA 388/90 Legal Concern 25 September 1990
YUGOSLAVIA : Arrests of ethnic Albanian officials:
It is reported that at least four members of the Assembly of Kosovo province
which was dissolved by the Serbian authorities early in July were arrested
on 17 September. They are: Raif Rambaja and Nazif Matoshi from Kosovska Kamenica,
Ismail Sahiti from Urosevac, and Fatos Pula from Prizren. The Serbian Assembly
has revoked their immunity from prosecution.
On 21 September there were further reports of the arrest of former Kosovo
government officials: Jusuf Zejnullahu - prime minister; Seladin Skeja -
secretary (minister) of transport; Muhamet Bicaj - secretary of education;
Jusuf Karakushi - secretary of internal affairs; Isa Mustafa - member of the
government; and Lek Vuksani - secretary of labour and social policy. Also
arrested was Agim Malaj, former director of Pristina television.
It appears that they are all charged with having formed a group aiming
to change unconstitutionally the borders of Serbia and proclaim Kosovo province
a republic, under Article 136 in connection with Article 116 paragraph 2 of
the Criminal Code of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Kosovo province, where over 85 per cent of the population are ethnic Albanians,
lies in the south of the republic of Serbia, of which it is a constituent part.
In 1989 there were wide-spread demonstrations after constitutional changes
limited the province's autonomy and gave greater powers to Serbia. Since then
over 60 ethnic Albanians have died in violent incidents with security forces
brought into Kosovo to quell protest against Serbian policies in the province.
On 2 July ethnic Albanian members of the Kosovo Assembly declared Kosovo an
independent unit within the Yugoslav federation. On 5 July Serbia responded
by suspending the Kosovo parliament and government and taking over full control
of the province. Since then thousands of ethnic Albanians have been dismissed
from their jobs and Kosovo's one daily newspaper in Albanian and almost all
television broadcasts in Albanian have been banned. Independent trade union
officials who declared a strike to protest against these measures have been
jailed for up to 60 days. On 7 September ethnic Albanian members of the
dissolved Kosovo Assembly met clandestinely and adopted a constitution
designating Kosovo a republic within the Yugoslav federation.