• Campaigns

UA 388/90 - Yugoslavia: Arrests of ethnic Albanian officials: Jusuf Zejnullahu, Seladin Skeja, Muhamet Bicaj, Jusuf Karakushi, Isa Mustafa, Lek Vuksani, Agim Malaj, Raif Rambaja, Nazif Matoshi, Ismail Sahiti, Fatos Pula

, Index number: EUR 48/014/1990

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: EUR 48/14/90
Distr: UA/SC
UA 388/90 Legal Concern 25 September 1990
YUGOSLAVIA : Arrests of ethnic Albanian officials:
Jusuf Zejnullahu
Seladin Skeja
Muhamet Bicaj
Jusuf Karakushi
Isa Mustafa
Lek Vuksani
Agim Malaj
Raif Rambaja
Nazif Matoshi
Ismail Sahiti
Fatos Pula
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.
Amnesty International is concerned that the above people have been arrested
and detained as a result of their non-violent political activity, and considers
them to be prisoners of conscience detained in violation of Articles 19 and
22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by
Yugoslavia in 1971, which guarantees the right to freedom of expression and
freedom of association.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/airmail letters:
- urging the immediate and unconditional release of these persons on the grounds
that they are prisoners of conscience.
President of the SFRJ Presidency:
His Excellency Dr Borisav Jovic
Predsednik Predsednistva SFRJ
Bulevar Lenjina 2
11070 Beograd, Yugoslavia
Telegrams: SFRJ President, Beograd, Yugoslavia
Telexes: 11062 SIV YU
Faxes: + 38 11 63 6775
Federal Secretary of Justice:
Dr Vlado Kambovski
Savezni sekretar za pravosudje
Bulevar Lenjina 2
11070 Beograd, Yugoslavia
Telegrams SFRJ Justice Secretary, Beograd, Yugoslavia
Telexes: 11062 SIV YU
President of the Serbian Presidency:
Slobodan Milosevic
Predsednistva SR Srbije
Marsala Tita 14
11000 Beograd, Yugoslavia
Serbian Secretary of Justice:
Sreten Vladisavljevic
Republicki sekretar za pravosudje
Nemanjina 26
11000 Beograde, Yugoslavia
COPIES TO: Diplomatic representatives of Yugoslavia in your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 15 November 1990.

View report in English